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Title:Latinas in telecommunications: intersectional experiences in the Bell system
Author(s):Nicholas, Melissa
Director of Research:Noble, Safiya
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Smith, Linda C
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Valdivia, Angharad; Vostral, Sharra
Department / Program:Information Sciences
Discipline:Library & Information Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Latinas
Telecommunications
Abstract:In 1973, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) reached a consent decree with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T). The consent decree settled a lawsuit built on years of discrimination against white women and women and men of color, opening the largest private sector employer to underrepresented people. With this suit and settlement, Latinas began lifelong careers as information workers, operating information technologies on a daily basis. This study provides insight into the critical histories of Latina information workers in telecommunications in the Los Angeles region. This history is not simply a story of Latinas entering the information technology fields, but rather an analysis of the ways in which Latinas were engaged or neglected during the EEOC v. AT&T case and subsequent consent decree, and the analysis by Latinas of their experiences in telecommunications. I explore the discourses surrounding the lawsuit with particular attention to Latina inclusion and omission, and the personal narratives from Latina information workers employed after the consent decree. I engage archives from the EEOC v. AT&T case and qualitative interviews to investigate the subjective entrance of Latinas into telecommunications. I conclude that intersectional identities function as crucial context for beneficiaries of the consent decree, and that Latinas applied a critical framework to their everyday socio-techno labor practices. This research contributes to the literature in several significant ways: It is the first in-depth history of Latina information workers in telecommunications; it adds to the cross-disciplinary research of the social construction of technology, often found in Science and Technology Studies (STS), critical digital media studies, and critical informatics; it contributes to the current debates advocating for Latinas in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; and it has implications for encouraging a Critical Latina Technology Studies, a technique already applied in telecommunications by Latina information workers. Information was gathered through oral history interviews with Latinas in Los Angeles who worked under the Bell system during the period 1973-1984, and from archival materials related to the EEOC v. AT&T case. This evidence was used to construct the histories of Latinas in telecommunications and determine a Critical Latina Technology Studies approach.
Issue Date:2016-07-13
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/92948
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Melissa Villa-Nicholas
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08


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