Black Feminist Thought as a Contribution to Community Informatics

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Black Feminist Thought as a Contribution to Community Informatics


Community Informatics, Cyber-Church, SisterNet


Over the past 20 years, from 1989 to 2009, researchers and community members at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been consistently involved in exploring and applying
technology usage in the local community, specifically in African-American communities in Illinois. This
effort was, in part, an attempt to understand the benefits, obstacles and constraints of informaticizing
community activities and preserving and digitizing culture among technologically under-served (and often
“redlined”) communities. This paper highlights specific initiatives and collaborations that have been a part
of the development and institutionalization of a Community Informatics Initiative in the Graduate School
of Library & Information Science at Illinois through the lens of Black feminism. Building on the assorted
and emerging definitions of Community Informatics (CI) by researchers who have been at the forefront of
grassroots and localized technology programs, this paper will attempt to identify two major theoretical and
philosophical approaches to merging community-based interests with technological application and
integration and posits a third. By examining two contrasting CI projects from Illinois from a Black Feminist
perspective, I attempt to learn how to improve sustainability and model CI projects that affect African-


Safiya Umoja Noble




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Safiya Umoja Noble, "Black Feminist Thought as a Contribution to Community Informatics," in eBlack Champaign-Urbana, Item #193, (accessed April 2, 2020).

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