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Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 (IRC19): #List - Selected Sessions and Papers

Here is the list of selected sessions and papers for the Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 (IRC19) - #List. IRC19 will be held in Lamakaan, Hyderabad, from Jan 30 to Feb 1, 2019. The conference announcement, along with the final agenda, will be published on Monday, January 7.


Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 - #List - Call for Sessions

Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 - #List - Call for Papers

Internet Researchers' Conference 2019 - #List - List of Proposed Sessions

Selected Sessions

#AyushmanBhavah - Arya Lakshmi and Adrij Chakraborty (9 votes)

#ButItIsNotFunny - Madhavi Shivaprasad and Sonali Sahoo (9 votes)

#CallingOutAndIn - Usha Raman, Radhika Gajjala, Riddhima Sharma, Tarishi Varma, Pallavi Guha, Sai Amulya Komarraju, and Sugandha Sehgal (9 votes)

#EnlistingPrivacy - Pawan Singh and Pranjal Jain (9 votes)

#FOMO - Pritha Chakrabarti and Dr. Baidurya Chakrabarti (9 votes)

#LegitLists - Form follows function: List by design - Akriti Rastogi, Ishani Dey, and Sagorika Singha (9 votes)

#ListInterface - Bharath Sivakumar, Rakshita Siva, and Deepak Prince (7 votes)

#LoSHAandWhatFollowed - Anannya Chatterjee, Arunima Singh, Bhanu Priya Gupta, Renu Singh, and Rhea Bose (7 votes)

#PowerListing - Dr. Shubhda Arora, Dr. Smitana Saikia, Prof. Nidhi Kalra, and Prof. Ravikant Kisana (10 votes)

#StoriesRecordsLegendsRituals - Priyanka, Aditya, Bhanu Prakash GS, Aishwarya, and Dinesh (11 votes)


Selected Papers


Orinam: An online list archiving queer history, activism, support, experiences and literature

In July 2009, the Delhi High Court legalised homosexual acts among consenting adults. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court of India held that homosexuality between two consenting adults was illegal and reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This section was reinstated under the pretext of the LGBTIQA+ community being a minuscule minority. The Supreme Court saw this as insufficient for declaring that Section 377 as going against Article 14, 15 and 21. However, on September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India passed the historic verdict reading down Section 377 to decriminalise homosexuality in India. In the time between 2013 and 2018, the LGBTIQA+ community struggled to their presence and rights. Different groups and organisations have worked on this.

One such collectives has been Orinam, an all-volunteer unregistered Chennai-based collective. Started in 2003, Orinam among other things, has also been recording queer experiences on its website since Dec 2005. These experiences of queer people and their families have been recorded in Tamil and English on Orinam’s blog, Our Voices as poetry, fiction, news, views, podcasts and reviews. The website also archives queer events in India through The Orinam Photo archives. Orinam has also been archiving the legal developments with respect to the rights of LGBTIQA+ community. This included legal documents, landmark verdicts, letters written by the family of queer individuals in multiple Indian languages to the Supreme Court to read down Section 377, among others [1]. These listings along with others, in turn also contributed to building the case for the legal battle to eventually read down Section 377.

This paper looks specifically at the functioning of Orinam based in Chennai that uses lists in a way to support a marginalised community acknowledging their realities and also keeping them alive in different ways. This is being done through its support resources, peer support, activism or archiving queer experiences in the form of literature and other media, both online and offline. This paper will trace Orinam’s work through the fifteen years of its existence as a listing and archiving platform supporting the LGBTIQA+ community.

[1] Orinam@15: talk delivered at 15th Anniversary Celebrations. Dec 23, 2018

Brindaalakshmi is a member/volunteer of the Chennai based queer collective, Orinam; and is currently working with the Centre for Internet and Society, India, on a study on 'Gendering of Development Data in India'.

Gayas Eapen

De-duplicating amidst disaster: how rescue databases were made during 2018 Kerala floods

Natural disasters can be crucial time for making lists: of people in need of assistance, rescue, support, relief and other similar disaster-related operations. In lists concerning rescue, being on the list and not being on it could mean the difference of life and death. In which case it is important to consider: how do the processes which make such lists possible come about? How do they ensure that people are not left out of these lists? How they do they sort out redundancies? I study the lists made during the Kerala floods of 2018 to attempt to answer some of these questions.

As rescue requests started piling up on social media, a group of volunteers set up the web portal,, which later became the central database of all the rescue requests. The portal was unique in two fronts. First, the developers building the portal were volunteers from the community instead of being the state employees, but, nonetheless, worked in coordination with the the government and rescue agencies along with the feedback they were getting from people. Second, the rescue requests were being crowdsourced from people directly. This led to the duplication of requests, it wasn’t until much later that it was realized that crowdsourced information was not coming directly from the victims, but from people who were placing requests on their behalf.

In this paper I argue how feedback from the community, coupled with the personal investment of the programmers lead to improvements in the structuring and use of the database. I will delineate the concerns of de-duplication (process of removing redundancies) which posed a serious dilemma, of either deleting crucial information hence posing danger to people’s lives, or incurring loss of precious resources in chasing repeated rescue requests.

I argue that the streamlining of programming operations by developing methods such as ticketing system (of labelling the urgency or marking completion of rescue requests by telephonically confirming them) were made possible because of a participatory model of building lists. Those involved in the technical creation of the lists identified closely with the experiences of the people stuck in the flood. The solution, which involved not deleting names of people but instead undertaking another painstaking scrutinizing operation even in a time sensitive environment, can be placed in stark contrast to how lists have been created by state or corporate agencies in similar crucial situations.

Gayas is an assistant professor of English and Journalism (as part of the Resident Expert Panel, 2018-19) at Dayapuram Arts and Science College, Kozhikode, University of Calicut.

Khetrimayum Monish Singh and Ranjit Singh

Making the ‘Other’ Count: Categorizing ‘Self’ using the NRC

This paper focuses on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a case study to discuss legal and administrative challenges in categorizing Assamese residents as citizens of India. At a fundamental level, lists manifest a binary of categories: people who are on the list and others who are not. However, the process of achieving this binary distinction, especially in the exercise of updating NRC, has required bureaucratic accounting of a wide variety of Assameseresidents who neither are completely on the list nor completely off it. This paper specifically focuses on instances of inclusion and exclusion of three categories of Assamese residents in the process of updating the NRC: (i) Original Inhabitants (OI), (ii) Doubtful Voters (D-Voters), and (ii) Women applicants who have been excluded from the list because of the lack of appropriate bureaucratic documents. As an administrative exercise, the NRC as a citizen identification project is a moment where temporalities of NRC as a classification system does not map onto the individual biographies of a variety of Assamese residents as outlined above. In such moments of ‘torque’ (Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Sorting things out: Classifications and its consequences, 2000), listing (or the process of making a list) is not simply bureaucratic accounting; it is also a lived experience of mismatch and the struggle that follows in efforts to secure representation through listing. We show that while the NRC update in Assam may itself be driven by anxieties around illegal immigration, the attempts to technologically, legally, and politically categorize the ‘other’ using the information infrastructure of NRC have profound consequences on the ‘self’ of India as a nation state.

Monish is a Programme Officer at the Centre for Internet and Society, India; and Ranjit is a PhD candidate at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University, and a Research Associate at the Centre for Internet and Society, India.



The sessions have been selected based on the votes submitted by all the session teams (that proposed a session for IRC19). Please find details of this process in the Call for Sessions page. The papers have been selected by the researchers@work team.



Puthiya Purayil Sneha

Sneha is a Programme Manager at CIS, and co-leads the researchers@work programme. She is engaged in a mapping of the emergent field of Digital Humanities in India, and is also interested in questions on the nature of textuality, reading, and writing practices in the digital sphere. She can be reached at sneha[at]cis-india[dot]org.