UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 30th March: Shaowen Bardzell, Muddled Theories and Vibrant Mud: Notes on HCI, Ecology, and Feminism
Shaowen Bardzell, Pennsylvania State University
Location: On Zoom


UCLIC Research Seminar 30th March: Shaowen Bardzell, Muddled Theories and Vibrant Mud: Notes on HCI, Ecology, and Feminism


As a feminist and critical scholar of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and design, my research
pursues social justice via IT innovation, leveraging humanistic traditions of critical theory and
feminism, interpretivist social science, and interventionist approaches to design and deploy
technological solutions aiming to improve quality of life. This talk illustrates a major thread of
that broad agenda, which is a feminist utopian approach to environmental justice. Feminist
utopianism seeks glimmers of radically better futures in partial and fragmentary forms in the
present. It is a mode of critique that is hopeful, materially engaged, and future-oriented—a
strong fit for HCI.

In this talk, I share how my collaborators and I leverage HCI, environmental science,
posthumanist theory, feminist theory and approaches (feminist utopianism, feminist new
materialism, and eco/Anthropocene feminism) to unpack several ethnographic cases of
alternative agricultural practices in rural Taiwan in which the farm is not so much a single
master system but rather an assemblage characterized by multiple systems or rationalities that
are always evolving and changing. The work—integrating both empirical and theoretical
moves—advances a deliberative discourse about HCI's roles and responsibilities in contributing
to new paradigms of cooperation between humans and nonhumans that still attend to both
economic and biological growth.

Selected Publications


Shaowen Bardzell is a Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania
State University, where she is also the "Professor-in-Charge" of the Human-Computer
Interaction faculty group. Previously, she was a Professor of Informatics at the Indiana
University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering (2008-2020). She has held many
leadership positions in the SIGCHI community, including conference general chair, technical
program chair, paper chair, and paper subcommittee chair among others. Currently she is the
Executive Vice President on the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee (2021-2024).

Bardzell holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University and pursues a
humanistic research agenda within the research and practice of Human Computer Interaction
(HCI). Throughout her work she augments contributions of feminism, design, and social science
to support technology's role in social change. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed
scientific papers and is co-author of Humanistic HCI (Morgan Claypool, 2015) and co-editor of
Critical Theory and Interaction Design (MIT Press, 2018). She has been awarded more than $13
million USD in external grants. She has also won over a dozen Best Paper and Honorable
Mention awards for her research.