McGill University - School of Computer Science

Algorithms Seminar 2005

Everybody is welcome!

DATE: Wednesday, January 26th 2004.
TIME: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
PLACE: McConnell 320
TITLE: Computing Ontology and Epistemology for Social Change
SPEAKER: Renee Sieber, Department of Geography McGill University

It is odd in the social sciences to attribute computing technology with the power to change society, particularly if that societal change involves giving marginalized people or, in the case of biological conservation, endangered species a voice in public policy. The problem is that technology can force an alien epistemology and ontology—whether that alienness is the status quo of power or Western White ideology—onto the changers. This talk will describe one such technology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and how it has been used for social change. It will then explore the extension of GIS with UML to model alternate views of the world and the use of XML to allow to participatory redesign of databases. These concepts will be illustrated by two projects: ongoing research within the conservationist and environmental movement and proposed research with the Cree in Wemindji, Quebec.

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