Graduate Student Workshop: Values in Computer and Information System Design

A few years ago I was privileged to attend the Graduate Student Workshop on Values in Computer and Information System Design, hosted by Geoffrey Bowker and Helen Nissenbaum, at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. It really helped shape my thinking on the complex interplay between social, moral, political and cultural values and technology, and I forged friendships and scholarly partnerships that will continue to last for years to come.

The call for participants for the 2008 version has just been posted, and I encourage graduate students of all disciplines to apply. Updated details will soon be posted here, and I’ve pasted the text from the call after the fold.

Call for Applications


Graduate Student Workshop: Values in Computer and Information System Design
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Santa Clara University
August 8-16 2008


Workshop Directors:

Geoffrey C. Bowker, Santa Clara University

Helen Nissenbaum, New York University
Workshop Details:

We invite applications for a one week NSF sponsored workshop on emerging approaches to the study of values in computer and information systems. Funding is available to help support students’ travel, accommodation, and subsistence. Workshop goals include:

  • Deepening understanding of technology in relation to social, moral, political and cultural values.
  • Creating new opportunities for collaborations among researchers and scholars (current and future).
  • Revealing relevant cross-cutting literatures, approaches, and methodologies.
  • Promoting the development of collegial networks among established scholars and students.

Students will cover a diverse canon of works on technology and values, and design and design methodologies promoting a broad understanding of what “good” systems are. Guest faculty, including major theorists and design practitioners, will lead discussions and share their own work.

On Saturday August 16, students will present their work at a public conference to a panel made up of industry and academic experts, who will comment on their presentations. There will also be two keynote presentations.

Who should apply?

Students working toward a Ph.D., or equivalent professional degree, in information science, media and communications, sociology, management, policy, law, STS, computer science and engineering, and philosophy. Applicants should have completed (or nearly completed) course requirements and be on the path toward an independent project (dissertation or other) related to the central themes of the Workshop. We are striving for diversity of backgrounds, methodologies, and geographic origin.

Please send: CV, 2-page project description, and letter of recommendation (under separate cover) from a faculty member. CV should mention relevant coursework, work, design, or system-building experience. In a cover letter, applicants should mention potential funding sources and needs.

Send queries or materials to:

Geoffrey C. Bowker
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053-0470

Applications close: 15 January, 2008
Awards will be announced: 29 February, 2008

This workshop is made possible by NSF Science of Design Grant: CNS 0613893

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