For the Black Girls Who Don’t Code: Tracing the Black Feminist Technoculture


Coding has been positioned by many as a corrective or missing tool to usurping the racism that has precluded Black women’s inclusion in the digital revolution. However, Black girls and women have long possessed the technological expertise necessary for the future. In this talk, Steele traces a Black feminist technoculture, beginning long before the advent of digital technology, demonstrating how Black women’s historical and persistent relationship with technology provides the most generative means of studying the possibilities and constraints of our ever-changing digital world. She provides a view into the principles and praxis of digital Black feminism, by considering the relationship that Black women form with digital tools of communication and how this relationship changes both Black feminism and the tools themselves. 


Catherine Knight Steele is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland – College Park and was the Founding Director of the African American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHum). She now directs the Black Communication and Technology lab (BCaT) as a part of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism Network funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 
Her research focuses on race, gender, and media, with a specific emphasis on Black culture and discourse in new media. She examines representations of marginalized communities in the media and how groups resist oppression and practice joy using online technology to create spaces of community. 
Catherine’s research on the Black blogosphere, digital discourses of resistance and joy, and digital Black feminism has been published in such journals as Social Media + Society, Information, Communication and Society, and Feminist Media Studies. She is the author of Digital Black Feminism (NYU Press 2021), which examines the relationship between Black women and technology as a centuries-long gendered and racial project in the U.S. 

March 2, 2022, 12:30pm

Note: For security purposes, access to the Zoom link is restricted to individuals with UW netIDs. If you do not have a netID and wish to attend, please contact Yuan Hsiao ( with the subject line “COM Colloquium.”