Volatile Contexts: Identity, Technology and Politics in a Moment of Danger

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 | 7:00 PM PDT
Presented by We Are The Voices, Mills College Trans Studies Speaker Series, and the Mills College Office of the President and the Office of the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

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Internationally acclaimed technologist and network security expert, Chelsea Manning, engages in a wide ranging public conversation with event host and Barbara Lee Chair in Women’s Leadership, Dr. Susan Stryker. The talk-show style event will explore questions ranging from national security and surveillance, artificial intelligence, trans rights,  critiques of the carceral complex, and prison abolitionism.

Chelsea E. Manning is a technologist and network security expert whose actions showed the world that the conscience of individuals can make urgent change through bravery and determination. She speaks on the social, technological, and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence, and on the practical applications of machine learning. She is a vocal advocate for government transparency and 
queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter and through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. 

Manning worked as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense where she publicly disclosed classified documents that revealed human rights abuses and corruption connected to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon being sentenced to 35 years for unauthorized disclosure of government documents—an unprecedented amount of time for the charges alleged—she publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her legal rights to medical therapy. After serving 7 years in military prison, President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served. She was released in 
2017. After release in 2017, she ran in the 2018 Maryland state senatorial primary, receiving the second highest number of Democratic votes (just over 6%). In 2019, she was the subject of the documentary film XY Chelsea. In March 2019, she refused to testify before a federal grand jury on ethical grounds. She was jailed for a year and forced to pay a civil fine of $256,000. In 2021, Manning worked as a security consultant for Nymtech, a privacy oriented technology project, before transitioning to an employee for Nym as a hardware optimization and security advisor.

We Are The Voices is a Mellon Foundation Higher Learning funded project linking Mills College students and faculty with poets and scholars working in Oakland and beyond.

The Mills College Trans Studies Speakers Series, hosted by Emmy-Award winner Susan Stryker, Barbara Lee Distinguished Visiting Professor in Women's Leadership, offers a regular public forum for exploring transgender issues with some of today's leading thinkers, artists, and activists.

Mills College Trans Studies Speaker Series logo featuring an abstract graphic with bright red lips outlining an eye with a hazel iris and inside that a blue and pink eye and center a revolutionary fist raised.We Are The Voices logo with the initials in blue and name spelled out in smaller gold type to the right.