University of Maryland

Spring 2016 Talk Schedule

Choose Not To Warn: Trigger Warnings and the Production of Knowledge in Feminist Fandom

May 10, 2016
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Dr.LothianSpeaker: Alexis Lothian, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies/LGBT Studies, University of Maryland, College Park



Abstract: The question of whether to use “trigger warnings” in classroom spaces has spawned intense debates in feminist academia. This paper explores the history of similar discussions in fan communities, where feminist-oriented fans have been debating strategies to navigate fraught landscapes of representation and trauma for more than a decade. In contrast to academics’ predominant concerns with surveillance, academic freedom, and neoliberal commodification of the self, fans’ arguments over warnings center questions of disability and access, working toward the creation of counterpublic spaces on and offline that attend to the complexities of affect and the interdependence of structural violence, pleasure, and critique.


Examining the Team Performance Benefits of Emotional Attachment Toward Robots  

Apr 26, 2016
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

ReSizeLionelSpeaker: Lionel P. Robert, Jr.
Dr. Lionel P. Robert, Jr. is currently an Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, School of Information where he was awarded the Carnegie Junior Faculty Development Fellowship.  Dr. Robert was a BAT doctoral fellow and KPMG scholar at Indiana University where he completed his Ph.D. in Information Systems and minored in Social Informatics.  His current research focuses on how technologies alter teamwork and how technologies can be used to improve teamwork.  He is a member of the Michigan Interactive and Social Computing (MISC) and Information Behavior and Interaction Research Groups at the University of Michigan. He is also an affiliate of the Center for Computer-Mediated Communication at Indiana University. He is currently the Academy of Management OCIS Division Representative at Large and the outgoing President of AIS SIG in Cognitive Research. He has published in various outlets such as Information Systems Research, the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), and the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). He has also written a book entitled Social Capital and Knowledge Integration in Virtual Teams.

Abstract: Although teams are increasingly employing robots to accomplish their work, we know very little about what makes such teams successful. Emotional attachment to robots has been associated with greater engagement and more enjoyable interactions with robots. Yet questions remain about whether such attachment can lead to better performance and how to promote it. This paper has two objectives: the first is to determine whether self-extension through robot-building and team identification can promote emotional attachment to robots; the second is to examine whether emotional attachment to robots can lead to better team performance and viability. To achieve these objectives, we conducted a between-subjects experiment with 57 teams working with robots. Teams performed better and were more viable when their members were emotionally attached to their robots. Both self-extension through robot-building and team identification increased emotional attachment to robots. Results of this study have implications for teamwork using robots specifically and for teamwork using technology in general.


Emergence of Communication in Socio-Biological Networks

Apr 12, 2016 (rescheduled due to the university closure; originally scheduled on Jan 26)
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing


anamariabereaphotoSpeaker: Anamaria Berea
Anamaria is a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Complexity in Business. She has a PhD in computational social science from George Mason University and a PhD in International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Romania. Her research includes agent-based models of company growth, information crowdsourcing and forecasting with prediction markets, Bayesian networks modeling, social network analysis, large scale (“big data”) analysis, text and sentiment analysis, and framing qualitative into quantitative modeling. She is currently researching diffusion of fashion, social media impact on crowd-funding success and the emergence of language and communication in socio-biological networks. She is a Teradata University Network Faculty Award Winner and her work has been published in Decision Analytics, AAAI Proceedings, Quantitative Finance, Handbook of Human Computation and Journal of Strategic Security. Her research has been supported by grants from ONR, IARPA, DARPA and the National Academies of Sciences.


Abstract:  Economic theories of information focus on the peculiarities of information as an economic good that can be public (non-rival — its consumption does not decrease its quantity, and non-excludable — one cannot prevent the access to it) or private (non-rival and excludable). There is also a large body research in economics that focuses on asymmetric information problems in a market setting. In any of these situations, information is essentially treated as a homogeneous good. In this research we start with the assumption that information is an economic good that is “near” non-rival, “near” non-excludable and heterogeneous. We subsequently built an agent-based model of information exchange where we implemented these fundamental principles of the economics of information in pairwise interactions of ontological networks. These networks can learn, forget and adapt informationally through interactions with the environment and/or each other and we explored various scenarios of communication. We show which are the conditions that differentiate social from biological communication and the communication complexities that arise when we scale from 2 networks interactions to 3 networks interactions.


Social Media and Political Signaling: Learning from Twitter Use in Indian Politics

Mar 29, 2016
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing


Joyojeet-300x239Speaker: Joyojeet Pal
Joyojeet Pal is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information where his work focuses on user experience and accessibility in low- and middle-income countries. His recent research looks at the use of social media in political communication in India, specifically on the role of political branding online in India. He has also researched and produced the feature documentary, “For the Love of a Man” based on the religious, political, and economic origins of fan following for film stars in South Indian cinema.


Abstract: Much recent research has examined the role of social media in elections, particularly in Western nations where the use of major social media is fairly widespread in the population. Today, in over 30 low- and middle-income countries, both the head of government and primary opposition leader have significant social media campaigns. In this talk, we explore the factors that make social media an attractive form of outreach for political leaders in the Global South, examining the case of one of the most successful social media campaigns – that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With over 18 million followers on Twitter and over 32 million “likes” on Facebook, Modi has a means of directly reaching the citizenry or addressing the mainstream media through social media channels. His rise on social media offers an important example on political brand management, we discuss specific outreach strategies and how these have evolved over time. We examine the frequency, tenor, and popularity of messages, the evolution of thematic discussions, and the use of political metaphor in Modi’s sharpening of a new populist discourse as leader of an aspirational, global India.


Enhancing Journalistic Curation of Online News Comments

Feb 23, 2016
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing


Speaker: Nicholas Diakopoulos
Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park College of Journalism with courtesy appointments in the College of Information Studies and Department of Computer Science. He is Director of the Computational Journalism Lab at UMD, a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at UMD, a Tow Fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism, and Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen Department of Information Science and Media Studies. His research is in computational and data journalism with an emphasis on algorithmic accountability, narrative data visualization, and social computing in the news. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he co-founded the program in Computational Journalism. Before UMD he worked as a researcher at Columbia University, Rutgers University, and CUNY studying the intersections of computing, information science, and journalism. Nick can be contacted via email at, and is online at @ndiakopoulos and


Abstract: National news outlets routinely publish articles that attract hundreds and even thousands of user comments. These comments often provide valuable feedback and critique, personal perspectives, new information and expertise, and opportunities for discussion (not to mention profanity and vitriol). The varying quality of comments demands a high level of moderation and curatorial attention in order to cultivate a successful online community around news. Amongst publishers there is a growing awareness that finding and publicly highlighting high quality comments can in turn promote the general quality of the discourse. Further journalistic value can be gleaned by identifying and developing new sources of information and expertise from comments. In this talk I will present an editorially-aware visual analytics system that supports moderators in curating high quality news comments at scale. The possibilities and ramifications of algorithmically infused social media moderation will be discussed in terms of journalistic ideals and norms of free speech and inclusion.


Interviewing Data  –  Interpretation and analytics

Feb 9, 2016
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing


Speaker: Anne L. Washington

Anne L. Washington is an Assistant Professor in the Organization Development and Knowledge Management Program in the George Mason University School of Public Policy. Her research investigates socio-technical aspects of transparency initiatives and electronic government projects.In 2012, she was the first U.S. citizen to be invited as a fellow with the Peter Pribilla Foundation at the Leipzig Graduate School of Management and Technical University of Munich (TUM). As an international team of scholars, the Pribilla fellows investigated the relationship between learning, failure and leadership in building innovation. She investigated how data fails and the role of innovation in government technology. Political informatics , or poli-Informatics, is her current three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that brings big data principles to the study of government and politics. She is leading a group of colleagues in using open government data to build research capacity for data intensive research. The topic of the 2012-2015 project is using computational analysis to better understand the financial crisis.She completed a PhD from The George Washington University School of Business. Her primary field was Information Systems and Technology Management and her secondary field was Organization Behavior. Her dissertation investigated the use of search technology by Congressional staff using theories of organization sensemaking. She holds a Bachelors of Arts (BA) in computer science from Brown University and a Masters in Library Information Science (MLIS) from Rutgers University. Dr. Mary Granger at The George Washington University, Dr. Nick Belkin at Rutgers University and Dr. Stan Zdonik at Brown University have been her academic advisors.Before completing her PhD, she had extensive work experience in financial services and the technology industries. After working for software development firms including the Claris Software division of Apple Computers, she worked for Barclays Global Investors in multiple technology and corporate training positions. She also was with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress specializing in legislative systems for nine years. Since 2008, she has served as an invited expert to the W3C E-Government Interest Group and the W3C Government Linked Data Working Group.

Algorithms and statistical models produce consistent results with confidence yet they do so with data that are subject to change. Furthermore, the underlying digital traces created within specifically designed platforms are rarely transparent. The emerging field which incorporates analytics, predictive behavior, big data, and data science, is still contesting its methodological boundaries. How can we use existing research tools to validate the reliability of the data? This paper explores alternatives to statistical validity by situating analytics as a form of naturalistic inquiry. A naturalistic research model, which has no assumption of an objective truth, places greater emphasis on logical reasoning and researcher reflectivity. “Interviewing data”, based on journalistic practices, is introduced as a tool to convey the reliability of the data. The misleading 2013 flu prediction illustrates this approach and is discussed within the context of ethics and accountability in data science.


(Joint HCIL/CASCI event) Citizen Interaction Design and its Implications for HCI

Feb 12, 2016
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
2105 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing (HCIL)


Speaker: Cliff Lampe
Cliff Lampe is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. His research focuses on prosocial outcomes of social computing systems, including the positive effects of social media interaction, civic engagement through social software, and nonprofit use of social computing tools. In that work, he’s collaborated on studies of sites like Facebook, Reddit, Wikipedia,, Slashdot and more. Cliff is serving as the Technical Program Chair for CHI2016 and CHI2017, as Vice President for Publications for ACM SIGCHI, and as Steering Committee Chair Elect for the CSCW community. In Dungeons and Dragons, he prefers the Druid player class.


Abstract: Cliff Lampe will be describing the Citizen Interaction Design program at the University of Michigan, which has the goals of teaching HCI and UX skills to students by having them work on civic engagement applications in coordination with Michigan cities. The goals of the program are to explore the role of HCI in civic engagement, to train students in the concept of sustainable interaction design, and to develop new forms of “town/gown” relationships. Dr. Lampe will describe the elements of the program, and then discuss the pros and cons of different efforts over the last three years. The talk will conclude by placing CID in the context of larger trends in HCI and social computing research, in particular the expanding set of domains that HCI is trying to cover – and what that means for rigorous research.