Daniela Rosner, Alex Taylor, Mikael Wiberg
The connection between faith and technology has long vexed design. Against the backdrop of secular scientific traditions, programs of technology development enchant and compel, reinforcing particular belief systems and ways of encountering the world around us, whether through religious practices or otherwise. Beyond the tools and systems, our scholarly communities guide and reflect additional forms of spiritual work that so many of us do. Billions of people across the globe engage in spiritual practices, of which our own experiences are only a small part. And yet, despite this abundance, much of our scholarly work has struggled to engage critically and generativity with faith-based values, beliefs, and practices.
To explore and expand this analytic horizon, this issue gathers reflections from a range of scholars and practitioners engaged in spiritual work, focusing on their connection with computing technologies and their relationship to design theories and scholarship. In this issue's conversation, Hong-An Wu and Caitlin Lustig discuss the capacity of tarot cards to work as a technology of resistance and change. Jessica Hammer and Samantha Reig consider lashon hara, a halachic (relating to Jewish law) term that focuses on the truthfulness of a speech act as well as on the positive or negative effects of a speech act on a person. Kentaro Toyama's article casts modernist principles—objective truth, material outcome, and public remuneration—as the root of many harmful technology-driven outcomes and explores how an engagement with religion could help scholars turn from technologies toward internals. Drawing on Christianity's concern for strong relationships, Alexis Hiniker and Jacob Wobbrock propose a relationship-centered design process to support adjacent ways of life worldwide. Referencing theological discourse, Joyojeet Pal discusses the role social media plays in the creation of Hindutva, a society based on Hindu values. Critiquing HCI spirituality literature, Elizabeth Buie argues for a stronger definition of transcendence experiences and introduces a principle of Unitarian Universalism that emphasizes hope, love, and collective justice. Responding to 19th-century notions of rationality and reason, Nashra Mahmood considers the God-like attributes attributed to cyborg visions. Moving toward the restoration of Indigenous epistemologies, Pat Vera introduces a land-based design approach that scaffolds the transmission of memories and lived experiences. Elizabeth Chin extends these arguments by exploring the ways Vodou and Santería rituals reflect and get reflected by particular technological worlds.
This issue explores both the potentials and difficulties of research related to faith and computing.
Across these varied reflections, this issue explores both the potentials and difficulties of research related to faith and computing. Whether secular, polytheistic, pantheistic, divinistic, or glossolalic, we learn that the crossing of physical and more-than-physical realms opens compelling orientations for reimagining our collective lives.
Daniela Rosner, Alex Taylor, Mikael Wiberg, [email protected]
with Mohammad Rashidujjaman Rifat, Nusrat Jahan Mim, Firaz Peer, Hawra Rabaan, Maryam Mustafa, and Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed (guest editors)
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