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CFP: “Just Code: Power, Inequality, and the Global Political Economy of IT”

Just Code is a one-and-a-half-day CBI symposium/workshop (May 8th and 9th, 2020) on how code—construed broadly, from software routines to bodies of law and policy—structures and reinforces power relations. It will explore the often invisible ways that individuals and institutions use software, algorithms, and computerized systems to establish, legitimize, and reinforce widespread social, material, commercial, and cultural inequalities and power imbalances. The event will also examine how individuals, unions, political organizations, and other institutions use code to fight for equality and justice. The papers will draw from across the humanities and qualitative social sciences, including disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, geography, and communications. We anticipate that, collectively, the papers will examine a wide range of themes in the global business, cultural, social, legal, and environmental history of the political economy of information technology. Papers will be pre-circulated (among presenters) and we plan to publish revised papers, after editorial and peer review, as an edited volume in the Springer History of Computing Book Series

Proposals should include a two-page CV and a 300 to 450 word abstract (as a single PDF) that highlights the key argument(s), connection of the paper to the symposium's topic/themes, and a description of core methods/sources. This should be sent to Please have your last name in the file name and the subject line "Just Code Symposium Proposal."

The deadline for paper proposals is Oct. 15, 2019. Notifications will be made within 30 days. For those offered and accepting a place on the program, the deadline for submission of papers is March 31, 2020. Papers will be pre-circulated to fellow presenters/panelists on the program only, and not to all registrants.

Two nights lodging at nearby hotel, lunch, and an event dinner will be covered for those presenting papers as part of the program, and we have partial support travel grants available for graduate students and junior faculty presenters on the program.  Registration is free and automatic for those offered and accepting a place on the program to give a paper. For more information contact For those wishing to attend, but not present, the event is open to all UMN faculty, staff, and students and to CBI Friends. If you are not currently a CBI Friend, you can become one and then register. Graduate students can become a CBI Friend at 50% of the designated amount. (Presenters do not need to be CBI Friends). “Just Code” is sponsored in large part by a gift/bequest events endowment to CBI from IT industry veteran Michael J. Samek, and through generous support from co-sponsoring units of the University of Minnesota.

Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D., CBI Director & Research Prof. in History of Sci., Tech., & Med., Univ. of Minnesota
Gerardo Con Diaz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Science and Technology Studies, Univ. of California-Davis  



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