Critical Data Studies A Cross-College Collaboration

Critical Data Studies at Purdue

The Critical Data Studies Collective at Purdue has developed a syllabus and a variety of courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. Below is a non-exhaustive list of CDS courses, open educational resources and other related courses on campus taught by CDS Collective Faculty and Affiliates. Not all of the following courses are offered each semester. Please view the Course Schedule for this year's offerings.

CDS Syllabus

The CDS Syllabus is a resource for critical approaches to data science and technology that advance social justice within higher education. It foregrounds materials on data feminism, data justice, decolonized data, and data for Black lives among others to serve as a reading list for university members and broader publics. The syllabus resources were selected by past and present members of the CDS collective and their wider community, with support from the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center’s Enabling Inclusion grant. The syllabus emerged in tandem with the CDS Collective’s virtual teach-in series in 2021. This is an ongoing project that is meant to be expanded, revised, and shared. Our hope is that this syllabus helps individuals across backgrounds, disciplines, and positionalities, to unite around mutual concerns and commitments.

CDS Collaborative Glossary

The CDS Collaborative Glossary is a student authored online publication and interactive glossary of key concepts in critical data studies. It is the outgrowth of an ongoing collaborative "keywords" writing assignment for students enrolled in the Critical Data Studies undergraduate course.

CDS Video Modules

The NSF Center for the Science of Information at Purdue hosts a series of Critical Data Studies video modules on their Learning Hub. The modules consist of a series of short videos with accompanying suggested discussion questions, writing exercises and readings.

CDS Courses

ILS 395 Critical Data Studies (offered Spring 2022)

Critical Data Studies (CDS) is an interdisciplinary field that addresses the ethical, legal, socio-cultural, epistemological and political aspects of data science, big data and digital infrastructure. This course focuses on current topics in critical data studies scholarship. In this iteration of the course, particular emphasis will be given to democratic and participatory approaches to algorithm design and responsible data management, curation and dissemination. Students will develop tools and methods to help scholars think critically and engage the public in conversation about the role of Data Science in society.  

This is a reading and writing intensive course. This course is open to all and counts toward elective requirements in the undergraduate Digital Humanities and Science and Technology Studies certificates.

ILS 595, Open Seminar: Critical Data Studies

This course offers the opportunity for students to engage with visiting scholars in the field of CDS and the larger campus community through a monthly Open Seminar Series.

This course is open to graduate students and undergraduates with permission of the instructor.  This course will be offered in the Fall of 2022.

Related Courses, By Faculty


ILS 230, Data Science and Society: Ethical, Legal, Social Issues (offered Spring 2022)

This course provides an introduction to Ethical, Legal, Social Issues (ELSI) in Data Science. Students will be introduced to interdisciplinary theoretical and practical frameworks that can aid in exploring the impact and role of Data Science in society. Simultaneous or previous enrollment in CS 24200 Introduction to Data Science or equivalent is a suggested prerequisite.

This is a writing-intensive course. Students will work individually and on collaborative assignments.

ILS 595, Data Management and Curation for Qualitative Researchers

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to data management and curation with a focus on the use, value, and organization of data, materials, infrastructure, tools, and scholarly communication in qualitative research. The course will introduce literature concerning ethical and legal considerations of data management and curation, and will provide opportunity for hands-on digital, data literacy, and data manipulation skills development.


HONR 399, Technological Justice (offered Spring 2022)

In this course, students will study interdisciplinary approaches to technology ethics for responding to today’s pressing technological dilemmas in a range of contexts, from healthcare, mass incarceration, and airport security, to social media, smart cities, and space travel. Students will grapple with how historical and present-day inequalities, institutional environments, decision-making cultures, and regulatory systems impact the technological design process and distribution of technology’s risks and rewards in society. We will ask ourselves whose values and assumptions about the world get baked into technological designs; how technologies shape, and are actively shaped by, distributions of power in society; and how we might consider questions of fairness, equity, and justice when it comes to the work we do in the world.