For nearly two decades, the design and study of interactive technologies has increasingly moved beyond functional issues (e.g., features, performance, usability) to focus on how technologies relate to personal experience and self-fulfillment, sociability and civility, political participation, and cross-cultural differences, among others. Not surprisingly, humanistic scholarship—including philosophy, critical theory, and aesthetics, etc.—has increasingly been used to contribute to these research contributions. The Center members have spearheaded and contributed to the humanistic and critical computing agenda in IT in general and the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) in particular for more than a decade.

By critical and humanistic computing we refer to research about, for, and through the design and use of interactive and digital technologies with a critical and humanistic perspective and it prioritizes developing new agendas for alternatives with computing technologies — methodologically, theoretically, or through new forms of societal or otherwise critical engagements.

The mission of the Center for Critical and Humanistic Computing is to:

  • Develop a fundamentally interdisciplinary research agenda in computing and Human Computer Interaction that is firmly anchored in action, intervention, and scholarly critical practice
  • Perceive links between critical perspectives, design materials, and sociocultural consequences in a way that supports social justice
  • Improve understandings of people’s subjective and social responses to experiences with technology by engaging with critical and cultural theory
  • Identify emerging phenomena, issues, and challenges in computing and HCI, addressing which would benefit from engagement with humanistic thinking
  • Rework critical and cultural theory to facilitate their uptake with computing researchers and interaction design practitioners