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Science, Technology & Society pres.

STS Speaker. We Are All Well - A Partial History of Public Information Infrastructures after Disasters

Megan Finn, University of Washington

When an earthquake happens in California today, residents may look to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for online maps that show the quake's epicenter, turn to Twitter for government bulletins and the latest news, check Facebook for updates fromfriends and family, and hope to count on help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This information order articulates a particular epistemic experience of earthquake for some Americans.

In this talk, I discuss how people produce and circulate information in earthquake publics using a comparative historical lens. I analyze the institutions, policies, and technologies that shape today's post-disaster information landscape, paying close attention to not only the circulationof knowledge, but also to the production of ignorance.

Bio: Megan Finn is the author of Documenting Aftermath (2018) with MIT Press. She teaches information policy and ethics at University of Washington's School of Information where she is an assistant professor. Megan is a faculty member of the DataLab at the Information School, and at the eScience Institute where, as a part of the data science studies group, she convenes a talk series called Data Then and Now. She is currently working on an NSF-sponsored project on ethical practices in computer security research.
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