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3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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This talk explores Black technological experience in 19th and early 20th century America through a history of the "black androids" — automata in the form of black humans. At its core is a duality: the technologies that drove the androids' racist depictions also figured crucially in Black technological experiences, agency, and selfhood in 19th and early 20th century New York. From steam-men and railway sabotage plots to electrical workers and the Harlem Renaissance, the talk asks what a descent into the technological undergrounds might reveal about race and machines, about the challenges of history, and about the role of Black experiences in challenging our conceptions of technology and pointing us towards new approaches.

Edward Jones-Imhotep is Director of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. A historian of the social and cultural life of machines, he is the author of prize-winning books on the entanglements of science, technology, and culture from the 18th to 20th centuries. This talk draws from his new project, The Black Androids, which explores Black technological selfhood in 19th- and 20th-century New York.

Sponsored by the Division of Literature & Languages. Free and open to the public.

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