Safiya U. Noble: Scholar of Critical Digital Media Studies Joins IS Faculty

Dr. Noble's research is centered on socio-cultural informatics, feminist, historical, and political-economic perspectives on computing platforms.

Safiya Umoja Noble, Ph.D. has joined the faculty of UCLA’s Department of Information Studies as an assistant professor. Her research is centered on socio-cultural informatics; including feminist, historical, and political-economic perspectives on computing platforms and software in the public interest.

Noble’s interests in digital media are at the intersection of culture, gender, and technology and how these factors play into the design and use of applications on the Internet. Her most recent work examines the prolific stereotyping in the online presence of women and girls of color in commercial search engines.

Recent writings include “Google Search: Hypervisibility as a Means of Rendering Black Women and Girls Invisible,” for InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture and “Trayvon, Race, Media and the Politics of Spectacle,” for The Black Scholar. Noble’s co-written chapter, “Race and Social Media,” (with Theresa Senft) appears in “The Routledge Handbook of Social Media” (Eds. Senft, T. and Hunsinger, J. Routledge: NY. 2013). Her most recent publication, “Changing Course: Collaborative Reflections of Teaching/Taking Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Information” appears in this month’s Journal of Education for Library & Information Science. Dr. Noble is currently writing a book about Google and information bias, forthcoming on NYU Press.

Prior to arriving at UCLA, Noble taught courses on race, gender, and sexuality in the information professions, digital media and society, and social aspects of information technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has also offered community workshops on digital literacy for underserved communities.

Noble is currently an associate editor of The Black Scholar: Online, which will be launching a new website in late 2014 as the journal moves to its new publisher, Routledge. Among various recognitions over the course of her career, she was honored as a Graduate Honors Fellow by the American Sociological Association in 1998. She was awarded a resolution by the California State Legislature Assembly for her Outstanding Works in Higher Education, as well as a National Women’s Political Caucus Award in 1995. Recently, Noble was recognized with the outstanding Faculty Woman Award from the Women’s Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was on the university’s “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent” for all semesters from 2010-14. In 2013, she was selected to participate in the Women of Color Leadership Project of the National Women’s Studies Association and is regularly invited to speak or write on issues of culture and technology at academic and industry conferences, including a recent TEDx conference at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Noble earned her doctorate and her master’s of library and information science at the Graduate School of Library & Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She achieved her bachelor’s degree in sociology at California State University, Fresno.