Jen Jack Gieseking

Jen Jack Gieseking, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky Ph.D.


Abstract: Does “not tiny” data ever qualify as big enough when marginalized people do not have the resources to produce, self-categorize, analyze, or store “big data”? How can algorithms support projects of resistance and resilience, rather than merely enact processes of data sorting and surveillance? In which ways can data visualization multiply rather than simplify narratives? Most data collected about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer (LGBTQ) people throughout history has only been used to pathologize and stigmatize. I draw upon the geographic concept to address how the size of data, the construction of algorithms, and the outcome of data visualizations matter to lesbians, queers, and trans people too. I examine the relationship between the digital and material spaces of lesbians, queers, and trans people, and their social and economic repercussions through research completed at the Lesbian Herstory Archives on LGBTQ publications and organizing records, as well as data scraping of the #ftm and #mtf hashtags on Tumblr. Drawing upon a queer trans feminist and critical geographic perspective, I argue that a wide range of imbricated scales of technology exist which extend the usual vertical portrayal of scale (from the body to the global) to a horizontal positionality that reveals the nuanced way power operates.

Bio: They are an urban cultural geographer, feminist and queer theorist, and environmental psychologist. Their research centeres around lesbian, queer, and trans geographies, with a recent monograph entitled A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, 1983-2008, a ethnography that focuses on LGBTQ+ data visualization, and more.