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Speculative Futures of Labor: New Feminist and Critical Race Approaches Symposium

March 2, 2020 - March 3, 2020  |  Dream Inn Santa Cruz


This symposium features emergent approaches to labor in light of the surge of interest in technological socioeconomic transformations (including robotics, AI, and app-based on demand services).This symposium, held on March 2-3, is part of the UC Speculative Futures Collective (UCSD, UCR, UCI, UCSC) that over a period of two years will feature events which will bring together scholars and others in the field of Speculative Futures to envision more sustainable worlds and futures.

View the full program schedule by clicking here.

Participants include:
Curtis Marez (UCSD); Jennifer Rhee (VCU); Xiao Liu (McGill); Erin McElroy (NYU); Heather Berg (Wustl); Julietta Hua (SDSU); Kasturi Ray (SDSU)

With Responses from:
Felicity Schaeffer; Savannah Shange; Neel Ahuja; Nick Mitchell; and Carla Freccero

Jennifer RheeJennifer Rhee is an associate professor of new media in the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s written about robotics and artificial intelligence in technology, visual and performance art, literature, and film in her book The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Her work can also be found in journals including Camera Obscura, Conigurations,ASAP/Journal, and Science Fiction Studies. Supported by an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, she’s currently working on her next book on counting technologies and race, from nineteenth-century statistics to contemporary big data.


Heather BergHeather Berg is assistant professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Her first book, Porn Work, is forthcoming from UNC press (2021). Her writing on sex work and political economy appears in Signs, WSQ, Feminist Studies, and Porn Studies, among others.



Julietta HuaJulietta Hua has a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies and is the author of Trafficking Women’s Rights (2011), which examines U.S. anti-trafficking laws and policies, has also published research on chimpanzee sanctuaries, and the “limits of rights” framework. Dr. Hua, in conjunction with Dr. Kasturi Ray, is researching political organizing around intimate labors. WGS courses taught include immigration, human rights, and law and politics.



Kasturi Ray works on issues of gendered labor, secularism, marxism, and colonialism. She has published on plantation labor, domestic labor, and service labor. She is currently at work on a book with Julietta Hua entitled Taxi Drivers in the Age of Uber.




Xiao Liu is the author of the book Information Fantasies: Precarious Mediation in Postsocialist China (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). The book provides a hitherto unheard prehistory of China’s involvement in the global circulation of information technologies and discourses in the post-Mao 1980s, and reveals the historical and ideological entanglement between the global rise of futurist fantasies of a coming information society and the advent of postsocialist politics. Her essays on digital culture, socialist and postsocialist culture, and information technology have appeared in journals such as Grey Room, Social Identities, Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. She is currently a McGill University Fellow at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum.


Erin McElroy is a postdoctoral researcher at New York University’s interdisciplinary AI Now Institute, researching the intersections of property, technology, dispossession, and race. Erin is also cofounder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a data visualization, critical cartography, and multi-media collective documenting dispossession and resistance struggles upon gentrifying landscapes. Erin earned a doctoral degree in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on the politics of space, race, and technology in Romania and Silicon Valley.


Full program schedule coming soon.

Presented by the UC Speculative Futures Collective, co-sponsored by The Humanities Institute, the Center for Racial Justice, and the Peggy & Jack Baskin Foundation Presidential Chair in Feminist Studies.


March 2, 2020
March 3, 2020


Dream Inn Santa Cruz
175 W Cliff Dr
Santa cruz, CA 95060 United States
View Venue Website