African Americans and IT: possibilities for progressive social change
1) Re-thinking indigenous knowledge systems
2) Re-thinking history of technology
a. The problem of romantic organicism in Black political movements
b. Discovering black pioneers of science and technology
· Earl Jones: In the early 1970s he pioneered work in distributed data processing using small computers linked to an IBM 370.
· Patricia Cowings: Analog interface design for NASA's biofeedback program.
· Philip Emeagwali: Nigerian-American; work not only concerns parallel processing for nonlinear dynamics, but his research takes a strongly historical approach, utilizing the history of mathematics and its interaction with computer hardware to improve his perspective on the equations.
More recent IT:
· John P. Moon: developed key features of the 3.5"floppy disk and drive head for Mac.
· Derek Harris: first African American owned computer company. makes use of vernacular metaphors and science fiction.
· Opto-Electronics cluster: Earl D. Shaw (physicist, co-inventor of spin-flip laser), William R. Northover (chemical innovations for laser fiber optics), Thomas C. Cannon (mechanical innovations for fiber optic cables).
3) Re-thinking the future of technology
a. The AfroFuturists: technology as a Black cultural movement
· Historian of Hip-Hop: Tricia Rose
· Cultural critics: Greg Tate, Mark Sinker, Mark Dery
· Analog musicians: Lee "Scratch" Perry (Ska), George Clinton
(funk) and Sun Ra (jazz)
· Digital musicians: DJ Spooky and Singe
· Visual artists: Fatima Truggard and Keith Piper
· Black science fiction writers: George Schyler’s Black No More, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters. More recently: Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson.
Rammellzee -- performance artist
Virtual Black communities
· Net Noir: started in 1995 by David Ellington and Malcom CasSelle. Ave 120,000 hits/mo.
· web channels for Culture, Entertainment, News, Business and Politics, Shopping.
· Melanet: started 1989 by William and Rodney Jordan. Ave 40,000 hits/mo. Focus on Black culture and spirituality.
· SOHH ("Support On-line Hip-Hop"): started in 1995 with Felicia Palmer and Steve Samuel as "cybermics," currently negotiating with Intel, CNET and Mediadome for on-line sales.