Hacking Imaginaries: Codeworlds and Code Work Across the U.S./México Borderlands

Héctor Beltrán, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of California – Berkeley, and Mellon/ACLS Resident Scholar, SAR

Colloquium, Dobkin Boardroom, SAR Administration Building

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Héctor BeltránHéctor BeltránPhoto courtesy of Nick Tikhonov.Héctor BeltránPhoto courtesy of Nick Tikhonov.

Please register in advance here.

Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork between 2014 and 2016, this talk explores circulating forms of hacking and entrepreneurial development between the U.S. and México. On one side of the border, hackathons, tech startups, and co-working spaces become part of the national imaginary for rethinking México; on the other side, communities of computer experts coalesce in the name of empowering a Latina/o collective. Research participants hone their programming skills across these sites in search of the “coding bliss,” the affective dimension one encounters when creating beautiful code. How do young people who participate in these communities learn to fill overarching neoliberal agendas with substance, meaning, and materiality? As hackathons continue to proliferate across the globe, promising to turn anyone into a “hacker,” Beltrán proposes that the emergence of the hacker indexes new ways of organizing and working in contemporary society.

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