Course Information

CS1951I is taught by Lachlan Kermode and the HTAs. Class is held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 to 10:20 am. Lachlan's office hours are on Thursday afternoons, or by appointment.

To take this course, you should have taken CS 32, CS 33 or CS 132. The course is limited to a certain number of students, and so it is also required to submit an application by January 20th.

In Spring '23 students will work with one of the following four organizations:

"Students will work in a studio environment to iteratively design, build, and test technical projects in partnership with different social change organizations. Students will be placed in small teams to collaboratively work on projects that will range from, for example, developing a chatbot to aid community engagement to conducting geospatial data analytics. Through the course, we will also reflect on our positionality and ethics in engaging in social impact work and what it practically means to leverage technology to create social change on an everyday basis."
– Course Announcement

Guides & Documents

Check out the following useful documents for questions you have about course organization, tools we use, and other helpful resources.



Students are responsible for setting milestones with their partnering organizations. See the syllabus for more information.


All reading responses are due Wednesday night at 11:59 pm. Links to the forms where you should submit your response are listed weekly in the table below.

WeekUnitReadingsResponse FormDue
Week 0
1/25 - 1/28
Introduction Syllabus Week 0 Response 1/30, 11:59pm EST
Week 1
1/29 - 2/4
Structural thinking "Demystifying Big Tech with Meredith Whittaker" [audio] - Meredith Whittaker and Astra Taylor Week 1 Response 2/1, 11:59pm EST
Week 2
2/5 - 2/11
Structural thinking "When Did the Fire Start?" in Your Computer is on Fire - Mar Hicks
"The Internet We Could Have Had" - Chris Kelty
Week 2 Response 2/8, 11:59pm EST
Week 3
2/12 - 2/18
Capital "David Harvey on Capital" [audio] - David Harvey and Daniel Denver Week 3 Response 2/15, 11:59pm EST
Week 4
2/19 - 2/25
Capital "The Making of the Tech Worker Movement" - Ben Tarnoff
Internet for the People: The Fight for our Digital Future (only the Introduction is required) - Ben Tarnoff
Week 4 Response 2/22, 11:59pm EST
Week 5
2/26 - 3/4
Labor "Coding is Not Empowerment" in Your Computer is on Fire - Janet Abbate
[optional] Breaking Things at Work [audio] - Gavin Mueller
Week 5 Response 3/1, 11:59pm EST
Week 6
3/5 - 3/11
Neoliberalism "The Big Picture: Defending Society" - Wendy Brown
"Platforms are Infrastructures on Fire" in Your Computer is on Fire - Paul N. Edwards
Week 6 Response 3/8, 11:59pm EST
Week 7
3/12 - 3/18
Neoliberalism "Counterculture to Cyberculture with Fred Turner" - Fred Turner and Daniel Denver
Hegemony Now: How Big Tech and Wall Street Won the World (And How We Win It Back) (excerpt) - Jeremy Gilbert and Alex Williams
Week 7 Response 3/15, 11:59pm EST
Week 8
3/19 - 3/24
Gender "Sexism is a Feature, Not a Bug" in Your Computer is on Fire - Mar Hicks
"When Computers Were Women" - Jennifer S. Light
Week 8 Response 3/22, 11:59pm EST
Week 9
Week 10
4/3 - 4/8
Partner 1: The Peace Lab Hemmatian GS: No amount of weapons can end the Ukraine war, but a peace mindset might
Tech Workers versus the Pentagon
3 Years After the Project Maven Uproar, Google Cozies to the Pentagon
Militarising Big Tech: The Rise of Silicon Valley's Digital Defense Industry
Week 11
4/9 - 4/15
Partner 2: Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice The Fetishization of Data
The Cruel New Era of Data-Driven Deportation
Marc Benioff defends Salesforce’s contract with Customs and Border Protection
At US border, tech issues plague new migrant applications
Biden's new CBP One app panned for trapping asylum seekers in 'daily lottery system'
Week 12
4/16 - 4/22
Partner 3: Center for Health and Justice Transformation My Turn: Sarah Martino: Post-COVID justice system should be smaller, smarter
Giving Serious Offenders a Second Chance Podcast
An Algorithm that Grants Freedom or Takes it Away
Deloitte Criminal Justice Tech Report (page 6 onwards)
Week 13
4/23 - 4/29
Partner 4: iCareForYou Ableism, Technoableism, and Future AI
Disability Visibility Project Ep. 3: Assistive Technology (podcast with transcript) (first 12 minutes)
Ten Principles of Disability Justice
Week 14
4/30 - 5/6
Reading Period
Week 15
5/7 - 5/13
Final Project Submissions Final Project Submission 5/13, 11:59pm EST

Inclusive Course Goals & Actions

CS1951I is committed to the full inclusion of students. Our course goals and actions for the semester are the following:

  1. Goal: Ensure that students of different religious backgrounds feel supported by the staff.
    Action: A Google form for students to request extensions or excused absences for a religious holiday that Brown does not officially observe.

  2. Goal: Allow students to voice their opinions about the course.
    Action: An anonymous feedback form for students to submit any concerns or questions they have about the course.

Diversity & Accessibility Statements

The CSCI1951i course staff is committed to increasing the retention of historically underrepresented groups in upper level computer science classes. We believe that an inclusive environment allows students to thrive academically while also creating a diverse social atmosphere that is welcoming to all. We value all feedback about the environment that we are creating, so here is a link to our feedback form. You also can reach out to the Diversity and Inclusion Advocates here.

Accommodations: If you feel you have physical, psychological, or learning disabilities that could affect your performance in the course, we urge you to contact SEAS. We will do whatever we can to support accommodations recommended by SEAS.

Mental Health: The CSCI1951i staff cares deeply about student mental health. If there are any mental health issues that keep you from performing well at Brown, we encourage you to contact CAPS. They provide confidential, free counseling. Project LETS at Brown University also can provide access to Peer Mental Health Advocates. You can find more info on Project LETS here.




Lachlan Kermode


Ciao! I'm a PhD student in the department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown, and a Research Fellow at the research agency Forensic Architecture. My current work is concerned with the history of computer science and software.

HTAs (


Ahmad Jamal


Hello! I am a senior studying computer science and I call Jordan and Palestine home. I am part of the best a cappella group on campus -> Harmonic Motion <-


Valerie Aguilar Dellisanti


Hi! I’m a senior from Peru majoring in CS-Econ & IAPA. In my free time, I love dancing and playing polo. I love desserts and I’m very excited about HTAing this class for my last semester at Brown.

UTAs (

Trevor Ing



Hey! I’m a senior studying CS from Seattle, WA. I’m a club baseball captain and love solving and creating crosswords, watching sports, and using Notion!




Hi! I am a junior from Jinan, China studying CS and MCM. I like powerlifting, making videos/animations, and looking at cool artworks:)