Akrylfarver i vand - photo: colourbox

SODAS will be hosting a seminar with two presentations, which in different ways are concerned with the relationship between anthropology and data science.

Programming gendered realities: The making of computer scientists in Singapore

Samantha Breslin from The Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University of Newfoundland will be the first to present.


This presentation explores the social and cultural worldviews of those who make the code and algorithms underlying data science, namely computer scientists. In particular, I explore the norms, values, and practices learned by students through undergraduate computer science education in Singapore. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in an undergraduate computer science program, I show how students learn practices of “rendering technical” and “rendering natural.” Students learn how to represent and translate reality into models, algorithms, and code. At the same time, the rules of writing programs are presented as an inherent part of how computers work and their logic as based in the natural evolution of human thought and practice. Computer science knowledge and practice are also rendered in terms of binary gender categories. These gender binaries are, in turn, (re)produced and naturalized in and by teaching examples, computer science concepts, and a variety of human and nonhuman actors. This paper thus shows how renderings and genderings of computer science knowledge and practice – and of reality – govern the possible ways for students and professors to think about and do both computer science and gender.

Open Data politics: data sharing beyond public/private divides

Luis Felipe R. Murillo from Tampere University of Technology, CERN will be the second to present.


One of the pressing issues for advancing open research data sharing with privacy protection has to do with the shifting terrains under which the public and the private are imagined, designed, implemented, and instantiated across digital platforms. In the context of expansion of research infrastructures, the politics of “openness” provides us with both an entry point and a privileged perspective into long-lasting debates in computing as well as in the social sciences. These debates mobilize different forms of expertise, digital tools, and distinct regulatory frameworks to approach information security, human subject protection, de-anonymization, and privacy violation. In this talk, I will examine these issues with a focus on the promises and challenges of Open Data for scaling up research collaborations and improving data privacy provisions. As part of a broader research agenda, I suggest combining empirical research on digital infrastructures and data analytics with interdisciplinary collaborations around “data management plans” in order to respond to complex issues of anonymity, privacy, and consent in the emergent field of social data science.

The seminar will take place in building 35, 2nd floor, room 1 (35.2.01) of the CSS Campus, Copenhagen University, from 14.30pm - 16.00pm.

If you have questions or want to know more, please write Agnete Vienberg Hansen at