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  • Book Talk

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

A Conversation with Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble

This event has already occurred

April 12, 2022, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Safiya Noble headshot.

The landscape of information is rapidly shifting as new imperatives and demands push to the fore increasing investment in digital technologies. Yet, critical information scholars continue to demonstrate how digital technology and its narratives are shaped by and infused with values that are not impartial. Technologies consist of a set of social practices, situated within the dynamics of race, gender, class, and politics, and in the service of something — a position, a profit motive, a means to an end.

In this talk, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble will discuss her book, Algorithms of Oppression, the impact of marginalization and misrepresentation in commercial information platforms like Google search and the power struggles over representation on the web, as well as the implications for public information needs.


This talk will be held in person and also streamed virtually, via Zoom webinar.

About the Speaker

Safiya Umoja Noble is the author of the highly acclaimed Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press) which was a New York Public Library 2018 Best Book for Adults and recognized by Bustle as one of “10 Books about Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You”. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); she also holds appointments in African American Studies and Gender Studies. In 2022, she was the first recipient of the NAACP-Archewell Digital Civil Rights Award. In 2021, she was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow for her groundbreaking work on algorithmic discrimination, which enabled her recent founding of Equity Engine, a new nonprofit committed to creating the conditions for Black women and women of color to thrive through access to education, investments, mentorship and mutual aid. She has been quoted in The Guardian, the BBCCNN InternationalUSA TodayWiredTimeFull Frontal with Samantha BeeThe New York Times, and Virginia Public Radio, and a host of local news and podcasts. In her talks and research, she focuses on the ways that digital media impacts our lives and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology. Website | Twitter

About the Series

This program is the first installment of the the Park-Choi DEIA Lecture Series, established in 2021 with a gift from William C. Park (‘89) and Jung Choi. The five-year lecture series is dedicated to exploring topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA). The Park-Choi DEIA Lecture Series Fund supports the Penn Libraries’ commitment, articulated in its Strategic Plan 2020-2025, to contribute to local and national movements to address societal inequities.

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