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The Metaverse’s New Diversity Industrial Complex

Lisa Nakamura

University of Michigan

Lisa Nakamura speaks at TEDSalon: Crossover, in partnership with Brightline at TED World Theater, November 14, 2019, New York, NY. Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED

The UCI Department of Informatics is proud to present Lisa Nakamura, Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan. This is a CREATE Distinguished Talk. The UCI campus community is invited to join us for the live talk and discussion in DBH 6011. Off-campus community is welcome to join via Zoom Meeting ID: 984 6164 8864.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the technosocial discourse surrounding the metaverse as a post-COVID platform designed for both intimacy and safety, immediacy and distance, racial and gender empathy and deniability. Companies like Oculus and Mursion create and exploit women of color avatars for use in racial sensitivity training modules and as central images in advertising campaigns to build a new diversity industrial complex without the need to hire or fairly compensate a diverse workforce.

Bio: Lisa Nakamura is the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan and a Primary Investigator for the DISCO (Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, and Optimism) Network,, a collective of critical researchers working on race, gender, disability, and digital technologies. She is the author of several books on race, gender, and the Internet, most recently Racist Zoombombing (Routledge, 2021, co-authored with Hanah Stiverson and Kyle Lindsey) and Technoprecarious (Goldsmiths/MIT, 2020, as Precarity Lab.