2022 Best Dissertation Award

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Administrative, Awards, Community, Conferences

The Best Dissertation Award for 2022 goes to Dr. Sebastián Lehuedè “Governing Data in Modernity/Coloniality: Astronomy Data in the Atacama Desert and the Struggle for Collective Autonomy.”

Congratulations, Dr. Lehuedè!

Dr. Lehuedè’s dissertation is a fascinating study of astronomy data produced in one of the least light polluted sites in the world. The dissertation tackles the question of data governance in an inspiring and innovative way theoretically combining discourse theoretical approaches with sociological and anthropological perspectives. Dr. Lehuedè’s research shows the limits of Eurocentric concepts of open data and data sovereignty from the proposition of a collective autonomy of data, making thus an important contribution to the ongoing debates on postcolonial foundations of datafication and data governance.

The Committee also recognizes Dr. Rebekah Larsen’s “Exploring Definitional Power in the Digital Age: A Case Study of Right to Be Forgotten Framing” and Dr. Karina Rider’s “Volunteering the Valley: Designing Technology for the Common Good in the San Francisco Bay Area” with an Honorable Mention.

Dr. Larsen’s dissertation provides a very timely study on internet governance, user data processing and control. The study is particularly interesting as it looks at the right to be forgotten as an “activist” tool for marginalized groups but also on the other hand how it serves as an exclusionary measure. The dissertation thus not only deals with many issues important in internet scholarship but has implications for policy debates along the North-South divide.

Dr. Rider’s dissertation is excellent in demonstrating how “tech can save the world” reproduces itself as an ideology, epistemology, and belief. The disseration presents an exciting study of the emerging and important Technology for Public Good/Civic Technology movement and how it plays out in the hotbed of technology that is the Silicon Valley. The dissertation, thus, speaks to issues that are critical to both internet scholarship and the current public debate about technology, making an original contribution to digital justice and digital labor area.

AoIR is grateful for the hard work by this year’s Best Dissertation Award committee: Andra Siibak, Chair, Rafael Grohmann, Anne Kaun, John McNutt, and Lynete Mukhongo. Thank you for your hard work and professionalism during the review process.