The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is pleased to announce the selection of the 2023 Data Fluencies Dissertation Research Grantees. These five researchers—Zhaowen Guo, Sanjana Krishnan, Jason Ludwig, Julian Quiros, and Reed Van Schenck—will each receive $15,000 in grants to develop research on information, data, technology, and social justice.

We received around 120 applications, which underwent a rigorous review by an interdisciplinary panel of experts. These five exemplary projects focus on issues ranging from surveillance, algorithmic discrimination, governance, and platform regulation. All these projects firmly fit the SSRC Data Fluencies Project’s goal of building more just and equitable futures through the responsible use of data and technology. 

These awards are possible with generous support from the Mellon Foundation and in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Digital Democracies Institute

The following are recipients of the 2023 Data Fluencies Dissertation Research Grants:

Zhaowen Guo
Zhaowen Guo is a PhD candidate in political science and a data and research consultant at the Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) at the University of Washington. For her dissertation, titled “When Caretaking Meets Monitoring: Explaining the Expansion of Surveillance in Rural China,” she has been compiling a comprehensive database that examines the extent of government investments in digital and physical surveillance, investigating the causes and consequences of China’s surveillance state.
Sanjana Krishnan
Sanjana Krishnan is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Kentucky. She is an urban and digital geographer and a computational social scientist. Her dissertation research, “Remaking Mumbai’s Cityscape: Technologies of the World’s Largest Biometric Slum Survey,” looks at how the design and use of digital technologies produce a new approach to governance for informal housing in Mumbai. More broadly, she is interested in studying the political economy and material impacts of data, technology, and algorithms on the margins and investigating how they work in cities of the Global South.
Jason Ludwig
Jason Ludwig is a PhD candidate in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. His dissertation, “Automating Blackness: Race, Computing, and Politics in the Postwar United States,” examines how government officials, computer experts, and activists sought to advance racial equality through computing in the postwar United States, and how this history can help advance understanding of digitized statecraft and algorithmic discrimination.
Julian Quiros
Julian Quiros is a PhD candidate at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and a doctoral fellow in the Edmund W. Gordon Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College. His dissertation, “The Social Formation of Administrative Data,” is the first entry into a planned multiphase study, taking a cultural studies approach to theorizing and describing the production, analysis, and dissemination of administrative data in the United States Public Child Welfare System.
Reed Van Schenck
Reed Van Schenck is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. Their dissertation research, “The Reactionary Web: Digital Media and the Reconstitution of White Supremacist Networks,” focuses on white supremacist digital networks in the United States with a particular interest in the effects of platform governance upon reactionary online cultures. Their interdisciplinary approach bridges critical-cultural studies, rhetorical theory, and media studies to evaluate the unsung ramifications of the far-right’s rise, regulation, and reconstitution.