In this talk, I will present my second book project, The Internet from the South: An Ethnography of Code and Infrastructure, which sheds light on critical aspects and overlooked areas of the information circulation infrastructure of the internet. Using a transdisciplinary lens founded on science and technology studies as well as decolonial and feminist studies, I apply ethnographic methods to examine the social, political, and economic implications of the design and governance of internet interconnection. I focus on the global South and the need to discuss design justice at the level of internet interconnection infrastructure. The talk is composed of two parts. In the first part, I discuss the emergence of shared networks in Tseltal and Zapoteco sovereign territories in Mexico, which extend the internet to areas where the services of existing larger internet service providers are unsatisfactory or unavailable. I propose to understand indigenous people’s ongoing design and infrastructuring efforts as internet codesign practices that compellingly exemplify the vivid struggles at play towards a more inclusive and pluriversal internet. In the second part of the talk, I extend these values to a deeper level of materiality: the code. I introduce code ethnography, an original research method, whereby code is conceived of as a sociotechnical artifact that emerges from among multiple actors and entangled interests. I discuss its application to internet interconnection infrastructure, specifically, to the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to illuminate not only the significance and implications of code in building a pluriversal internet from the standpoint of interconnection, but also the possibilities this method unlocks for digital humanities research.
BIO: Fernanda R. Rosa, Ph.D., is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, with affiliation to the Center for Advanced Studies in Global Communication (CARGC). She is interested in understanding how unbalanced relations of power emerge in underlying layers of the internet, and the consequent social, political and economic implications for the global South. In 2020, Dr. Rosa’s dissertation Global Internet Interconnection Infrastructure: Materiality, Concealment and Surveillance in Contemporary Communication, approved with distinction, received an Honorable Mention for the Association of Internet Researchers’ Best Dissertation Award.
Dr. Rosa is a first-generation college student. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from American University, in Washington DC., a Masters in Management and Public Policy, passed with honors, from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), and a BA in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo (USP). She is a founding member of the Rede de Pesquisa em Governança da Internet (Research Network in Internet Governance) and was previously a Research Associate at Columbia University’s Institute of Latin American Studies and a Next Generation Scholar at the Columbia University’s Tech & Policy Initiative. She is the co-author of Mobile Learning in Brazil (Zinnerama, 2015) on technology and education issues.