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The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) presents a seminar from international scholar, Professor Jack Qiu, on digital enslavement along the assembly line and in the data mine.
This seminar 'iSlavery and Antislavery: Rethinking Digital Labor and Capitalism' is based on Jack Qiu's new book Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition (forthcoming 2016, University of Illinois Press).
Digital media have long been thought of as “technologies of freedom”. But the reality cannot be more contradictory if one approaches the same gadgets from where they are made, for example, in the bleak landscape of Chinese factory zones. A comparative exercise – between trans-Atlantic slavery since the 1600s and twenty-first-century iSlavery – is needed to better understand the profound problems of today’s digital industries, in order for us to act upon them.
Exploitation, suppression, alienation, addiction, self-destruction: these features of enslavement have crept into the empire of digital media, along the assembly line and in the data mine. Yet, as always, the expansion of slave systems leads to endeavors of antislavery when the exploited resist the powers that be, when citizens join the struggle to set humanity free. Although digital abolition at its present stage may seem a far cry from ending slavery and the capitalist world system at the very roots of modern enslavement, it is undoubtedly an important first step. Its long-term implication shall not be underestimated because iSlaves have nothing to lose but their chains; they have a world to win.
Jack Linchuan Qiu is professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he serves as deputy director of the C-Centre (Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research).
Registration and bookings
Getting thereVenue: RMIT Design Hub,Building 100, Level 10, Pavilion 4, corner of Victoria Street and Swanston Street, Melbourne
Walk to the intersection of Victoria and Swanston Streets.
Trams running along Swanston Street include routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72, from which you can connect to the train at Melbourne Central or Flinders Street.
Visit the Public Transport Victoria website for more information and connecting services in your area.
No on-campus parking is available for visitors, but you’ll find many commercial car parks a short walk away. Metered street parking is also available nearby, but note the time limits and clearway restrictions.