Date(s) - 03/11/2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


3910 15th Ave NE
Seattle WA

*** Due to precautions being taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, this event will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, March 11th from 4:00-5:00pm. Please register HERE and you will be sent a link to join in advance of the event. ***


As part of the Data Then and Now seminar series, Jim Thatcher from University of Washington Bothell will be presenting a lecture called “‘Data, computation, and parasitic capitalism: towards a digital political ecology of the Columbia River.” Please join us for Thatcher’s lecture on March 11th, 2020 from 4:00-5:00 PM in the Seminar Room of the WRF Data Science Studio.


While popular accounts of new and emerging digital infrastructures have begun to correctly report the energy and environmental impacts of said technologies; it is necessary to go beyond the making visible of data and computations’ materialities in order to explicate the highly uneven and intertwined infrastructural, ecological, political, and economic systems on which they rest. In this talk, I explore Bitcoin’s variegated impacts on Chelan County, untangling the processes that occur as the distributed, digital infrastructure consumes the very real material resources of one place as a means of producing digital goods used in others. In so doing, it examines not only the material costs of networks like Bitcoin, but also their historical ties to older processes of accumulation and extraction.


Jim Thatcher is an Associate Professor in the School of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma where he is the director of the Spatial Models and Electoral Districting NSF REU site. He received his PhD in geography from Clark University and his work examines the recursive relations between data, environment, and society. He is a terrible banjo player.


The Data Then and Now seminar series explores the social and organizational history of data and data practices in order to better understand the current data-intensive moment through its antecedents and continuities. It features invited speakers from across the country and around the world. For more information, please visit the Data Then and Now web page.