[NetBehaviour] Hackademia: empirical studies in computing cultures (call for participants)

furtherfield furtherfielder at gmail.com
Thu Nov 19 14:55:27 CET 2015

Hackademia: empirical studies in computing cultures (call for participants)

DCRL Digital Cultures Research Lab
Leuphana University
Am Sande 5
21335 Lüneburg

15. November 2015
Call For Participants

Hackademia: empirical studies in computing cultures
A Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL) Summer School
August 28th – September 2nd, 2016
Leuphana University

Curated by

Paula Bialski, Leuphana University
Gabriella Coleman, McGill University
Marcell Mars, Leuphana University


Studying digital media today means studying those technologists—hackers,
security resarchers, game developers, system administrators, and
designers—who create and maintain the digital worlds we live in. How much
agency lies in the hands of programmers, coders, and engineers to create
our digital worlds is still up for debate, yet this much is true: various
hacking and related subcultures form critical nodes of practice that help
shape and condition the contemporary technologies we use everyday. Whether
it is an analyst or coder implementing algorithms at a large financial
institution, a group of designers working on improving the user interface
for a cryptographic tool, a privacy team securing a browser, a developer
coding her own app, cryptographers working on an open source anoymized
system, a programmer working on a p2p file-sharing platform, hackers buying
and selling zero days in a grey market, a team of system administrators at
Google working to scale up services, a journalist-coder developing
visualization tools, indie game developers seeking to write a politically
minded game, or a hacker-leaker whistleblowing to salavage privacy - all
have something to say about how digital technology can and should be

These technology workers/experts are now central to every field of social,
political, and economic import. They secure our communications networks;
shape the design and portals we use to connect to our banks, our friends,
our loved ones, our colleagues, our business partners; inform us about the
activities of our governments; design novel currencies; exfiltrate
intellectual property and proof of wrongdoing from corporate actors; offer
us alternative ways of organizing our political voices whether through
political projects or games; function as conduits and warriors between
nations; and allow us to confront the laws we don’t like – through
democratic engagements, as in the Free Software movement, or tools that
enable outright circumvention.

This is an ideal time to understand and ultimately appraise their
activities, actions, their desires, and intentions. While an increasing
number of scholars – ethnographers, cultural anthropologists, sociologists,
and media historians – are undertaking the study of hacker cultures,there
are many methodological questions to pose and explore: How much technical
knowledge is necessary to study the worlds of computing and programming?
How does one gain access to secret nooks of hacking or corporate sites –
whether a security company, gaming outfit, or blackhat computer forum –
where codes, designers, and hackers labor? How is the study of hackers
similar and different to the study of other experts such as scientists? As
participant observers, how can we fully understand the engineering culture
of the hackers we are studying, and what shortcuts in our methods must be
taken in order to create an understanding?

Who Should Apply?

This summer school invites doctoral students in the field of ethnography,
cultural anthropology, media studies, software studies, sociology, science,
technology studies, history, or other, who are currently working on a
dissertation on the life-worlds, practices, cultures, or platforms of
hackers. Hackers here are understood broadly as programmers, coders,
pirates, and computer engineers of all shapes and forms – and do not
necessarily have to be engaged in illegal or subversive activity or self
identify as hackers. Applicants who are struggling with field entry, are
learning to code, or seek to expand their methods, are particularly welcome.

Who Will Attend?

This summer school will provide a dialogue between hackers and academics.
As such, we will additionally invite a number of hackers, coders,
programmers, and technologists. These guests will lead sessions around the
topic of field entrance, knowledge transfer, work organization and hacker
communication practices, feminist critiques, and standards/protocols.
Keynote speakers will also provide evening lectures, and help lead sessions.

Where and when will this take place?

The Hackademia summer school will take place at the Digital Cultures
Research Lab (DCRL), Leuphana University in Luneburg, Germany (30 minutes
away from Hamburg), between August 28th – September 2nd, 2016.

How to apply:

Please submit your CV along with a 500-word abstract of your dissertation,
and a 500-word explanation on why you would like to attend this summer
school. The deadline for applications for the summer school is January 4th,
2016. Please email your applications (compile into one PDF) to
bialski at leuphana.de

All applicants will be informed about the selection of participants in

The working language of the summer school will be English; therefore, a
sufficient understanding of English is expected.

There is no participation fee. The organizers will cover accommodation
costs. We have a limited amount of need-based travel funding available.
Please indicate in your application letter if you wish to apply for travel

For further information on the DCRL, please visit:

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