Women in Computational Social Science

12th - 14th November 2020,

Lucerne, Switzerland


The internet and the digital in general are by now “affecting most if not all areas of social life” (Marres 2017). Most of it is being recorded and traced digitally; social interaction is increasingly mediated via computational infrastructures. This does not only create a new wealth of data for the study of the social, but also requires a critical perspective on how algorithms and programming logics shape the social, e.g. by connecting us with friends and loved ones, by selecting news, controlling household gadgets, overseeing banking transactions etc. Consequently, the opportunities of using these data to research society, while equally acknowledging the performativity of computational infrastructures and methods make the need for collaborations between computer and social scientists more fertile than ever.

Following these observations, the workshop «Women in Computational Social Science» aims at fostering collaboration between female computer scientists (perceived in a wide sense) and social scientists, making use of each other’s value domain knowledge, developing a form of multilingualism among scholars. So far, the field of Computational Social Science is male dominated and short of female perspectives and insights (see We therefore specifically address all junior scholars at the intersection of computer and social sciences who identify as women. We hope to lower the entry barrier for the already quite challenging task of expanding disciplinary boundaries by organizing a workshop exclusively for women. In addition, we specifically encourage those who have not yet realized projects in Computational Social Science to apply, along with those who have already gained research experience within the field. To be clear, we propose no narrow understanding of the term “Computational Social Science”, but invite all scholars of technical and social sciences who are interested in empirical research on societal and sociotechnical questions by computational means and/or using digital data.

Since we aim at enhancing the dialogue between disciplines, it is not required for participants to be fluent in social theory and computing procedures. However, we do ask for a short CV and a proposal of a maximum of two pages, which explains the applicant’s interest in the workshop and a research idea within the range of the aforementioned topic. This workshop is NOT an introductory class into Computational Social Sciences, but mainly a networking and co-working event for those with interdisciplinary ideas and an interest 1) to share and discuss those among other similarly minded women, 2) to seek technical, methodological or theoretical expertise from across the disciplines and 3) to identify common research interests and build collaborations.

The workshop takes place in Lucerne, Switzerland, from 14th to 16th May 12th to 14th November 2020. It will contain a keynote by Claudia Wagner (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), networking events and a full, moderated workshop day within the beauty of Lucerne’s surroundings. The workshop will be held in English.

Due to the generous support of the “Women in Big Data” initiative and the Swiss National Science Foundation’s NRP 75, two overnights stays and capped reimbursements of travel costs (CHF 200) for the 14 participants can be granted.