Much contemporary life is entangled with an amalgam of digital technologies--from machine readable identifications and surveillance systems to the conjuring of tech startups and ubiquitous computing. These technologies are the product of knowledge communities that push the boundaries of imagination even as they work to delineate the boundaries of the possible.
The Border Tech Lab, founded in 2018, examines these knowledge communities and their role in the fabrication of boundaries, digital artifacts, politics, and lifeworlds. The aim of the Border Tech Lab is to interrogate boundary making processes at the heart of sociotechnical relations--from the regulation and ordering of labor to the construction of classifications, and the making and meanings of human-machine configurations. Members of the Lab participate in team-based research using a variety of methods that include archival research, oral history, critical inquiry, and discourse analysis. Our work draws together the fields of feminist STS, American and ethnic studies, and digital (media) studies.
Currently the BTL is pursuing research on the intersections between anti-immigrant paramilitary organizations and citizen technoscience, the (racializing) infrastructure of the gig economy, and electronics and computer manufacturing along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands from the 1960s to the present.
Chaar López and the Border Tech Lab continues to accept graduate and undergraduate students. If you are interested in joining the BTL, please fill out this survey.
You can also email Professor Chaar López at ichaar (at) utexas (dot) edu.
Directed by Vicky Funari
Meet the BTL Team
Iván Chaar López
Odalis Garcia Gorra
Odalis Garcia Gorra is an American Studies doctoral student at UT Austin. She has a BA from The New School in Journalism with a concentration in Religious Studies, and an MA in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her research explores diasporic Latinx and Caribbean identities. She's specifically interested in how Latinx digital communities become pathways for innovative cultural expression, identity formation, and how Latinidad is commodified.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Emma Li is a Junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying Race, Indigeneity and Migration along with Marketing. She’s interested in research at the intersection of art and design, critical race theory and social movements. In her free time Emma enjoys making pastries, messing around with watercolors and exploring all the coffee shops in Austin.
Victoria Sánchez obtained her B.A. in Gender Studies from Carleton College and her M.A. in Latin American & Latina/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include feminist science and technology studies, ethics in AI, inclusive data, Latinx Studies, and speculative art and design. Outside of the lab, you can find her supporting outstanding young leaders or the “future of work” as a Career Program Manager at the Posse Foundation in San Francisco, CA.