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Tressie McMillan Cottom to deliver talk on “Constructing The Good Black Digital Subject”

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) will host a talk by author, professor, and sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 10-11:00 am in the Pleasants Family Room at Wilson Library.


Studio photo of Tressie McMillan Cottom
Tressie McMillan Cottom

In her talk, titled “Constructing The Good Black Digital Subject,” McMillan Cottom will discuss her research on group inequalities and technologies across higher education, media, and work. If data regimes allow consumer markets the ability to sort, rank, and distribute critical resources (Healy and Fourcade), how do marginalized groups construct engagements with democratic institutions? She will discuss work from previous research, as well as new work on the technologies of transnational black consumerism.

McMillan Cottom is an award-winning Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a faculty affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally for the urgency and depth of her incisive critical analysis of technology, higher education, class, race, and gender.

McMillan Cottom earned her doctorate from Emory University’s Laney Graduate School in sociology 2015. Her dissertation research formed the foundation for her first book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (The New Press 2016).

With tens of thousands of readers amassed over years of writing and publishing, McMillan Cottom’s columns have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Dissent Magazine. Her most recent book, THICK: and Other Essays (The New Press 2019), is a critically acclaimed Amazon best-seller that situates Black women’s intellectual tradition at its center. THICK is a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize and is shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.