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Occasional Talk with Kirk Jalbert

Building Infrastructures for a Civic Information Science: Studies in Data for Empowerment

Unconventional oil and gas extraction is fueling a wave of resource development touted as a new era in U.S. energy independence. Meanwhile, communities experiencing energy extraction question if risks to public and environmental health outweigh potential economic benefits. In these debates, a crisis of knowledge often persists due to unavailable, incomplete, or incompatible sources of information pertaining to oil and gas industry expansions. This talk details the ways in which civic data collection and information transparency projects enact new knowledge infrastructures that can rearrange power asymmetries between regulatory institutions, private industry, and public interest groups in oil and gas development regions. We explore new narrative that have emerged in the field—including “data rights”—with significant consequence for state agency responsibilities to constituents. Finally, the talk examines marginalizing conditions that can prevent concerned citizens from participating in such projects when facilitators make claims of empowerment but fail to address embedded politics of power and expertise in their designs.

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Venue: Coor 5536

Meet & Greet
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Venue: Coor 5536

Lunch will be served.

Please RSVP by Monday 3/13 here.

Speaker Bio: Kirk Jalbert is the Manager of Community-Based Research & Engagement at the FracTracker Alliance, a national nonprofit that works to understand the risks of oil and gas extraction through information transparency, data visualization, and digital storytelling projects. Jalbert is also Visiting Research Professor at Drexel University’s Center for Science, Technology & Society and serves on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. His research seeks to understand civic engagements in environmental governance that are enabled by information technology projects, particularly those that explore what it means to do “applied STS” through community-driven research partnerships across disciplines and sectors. Jalbert received his PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has a MFA in media arts, and a BS in computer science.