Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble

Photo credit Stella Kallnina

Dr. Safiya U. Noble is an internet studies scholar and Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she serves as the Interim Director of the UCLA DataX Initiative and is the Founder and Director of the UCLA Center on Race and Digital Justice. She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-reviewed in scholarly and popular publications. In 2021, she was recognized as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (also known as the “Genius Award”) for her ground-breaking work on algorithmic discrimination. In 2022, she was recognized as the inaugural NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award recipient. She is the Co-Founder and former Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford where she is a chartering member of the International Panel on the Information Environment.

Her academic research focuses on the internet and its impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, power, and technology. She is regularly sought out for her expertise on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias by national and international press including The Guardian, the BBC, CNN International, USA Today, Wired, Time, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The New York Times, and a host of network news and podcasts. Her popular writing includes critiques on the loss of public goods to Big Tech companies, as featured in Noēma magazine.  

Safiya is the co-editor of two edited volumes: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She is a member of several academic journal and advisory boards, and holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018. In 2020, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumna Award from the iSchool Alumni Association, and is also the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award winner from the Illinois Alumni Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award.

Dr. Noble is a board member of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, serving those vulnerable to online harassment. She was recently appointed as a board member for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, and Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy organization. In 2021, she founded a non-profit, The Equity Engine to accelerate investment in companies, education, and networks driven by women of color.

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