Article ID: CBB872884115

At the Border of the Digital Divide: San José Unified School District and Evangelina Vigil-Piñon’s The Computer Is Down (2022)


Larson, Max (Author)

American Quarterly
Volume: 74
Issue: 2
Pages: 345-368
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

This essay clarifies the political stakes of digital humanistic scholarship through an analysis of the digital divide, a term that emerged in the 1990s to characterize the widening gap between the United States’ information “haves” and information “have-nots.” The first half of the essay addresses the shortcomings of the digital divide concept, employing a case study of San José Unified School District—the largest school district in Silicon Valley—to show how this concept disregarded the very same Latino students it was intended to help. The second half proposes a counterlexical concept derived from the Chicana poet Evangelina Vigil-Piñon’s collection The Computer Is Down (1987), which, unlike the digital divide, can address digital culture in its historical, racial, and economic complexity. By theorizing the digital divide from below, I show how the ostensibly “nondigital” fields of critical race and multiethnic American studies can challenge the digital divisions—the perceived gap between information haves and information have-nots—that currently structure humanistic inquiry.

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Authors & Contributors
Benjamin, Ruha
Braga, Marco
Bugos, Glenn E.
Cain, Victoria
Clark, Penney
Forato, Thaís Cyrino de Mello
Science and Education
Blätter für Technikgeschichte
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
History of Education Quarterly
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
MIT Press
Duke University Press
Oxford University Press
Polity Press
The MIT Press
University of California Press
Primary and secondary education
Teaching; pedagogy
Science education and teaching
Digital technologies
Ampère, André Marie
Biot, Jean-Baptiste
Oersted, Hans Christian
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
United States
California (U.S.)
National Institute of Health (U.S.)

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