Safiya noble dissertation


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Ble's work on how race and gender are reflected in search was the basis of her dissertation.

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Safiya noble dissertation

Issertation research. Ite my custom paperweights wholesale beads? Professor Noble is currently Chair of the Ph.

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Your application safiya noble dissertation is considered complete for review and will be sent to the admissions committee when we have received. Jets dissertation francais seconde. Recently, engagement with digital technologies has become an enticing way of giving voice to marginalization and oppression, and hashtag activism has gained prominence as a potential intervention in forms of organizing, while disrupting traditional notions of how activism and protest should take place. In this talk, Safiya Umoja Noble will discuss the importance of the digitally-enabled academic-activist library community to offer models of intervention and resistance through research, practice and teaching, and the importance of examining the consequences and affordances of LIS activist work in a digital paradigm.

By illuminating linkages to power struggles over values, particularly in the context of the digital, we can re-examine information contexts that can engender greater responsibility and imperative to act. It was my love of information, intellectual freedom, and service that pulled me back to librarianship. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.


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Christopher Hunt, art director of the campaign, said, "When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far. The campaign suggests that search is a mirror of users' beliefs and that society still holds a variety of sexist ideas about women. What I find troubling is that the campaign also reinforces the idea that it is not the search engine that is the problem but, rather, the users of search engines who are.

It suggests that what is most popular is simply what rises to the top of the search pile. While serving as an important and disturbing critique of sexist attitudes, the campaign fails to implicate the algorithms or search engines that drive certain results to the top. This chapter moves the lens onto the search architecture itself in order to shed light on the many factors that keep sexist and racist ideas on the first page.

One limitation of looking at the implications of search is that it is constantly evolving and shifting over time. This chapter captures aspects of commercial search at a particular moment — from to — but surely by the time readers engage with it, it will be a historical rather than contemporary study. Nevertheless, the goal of such an exploration of why we get troublesome search results is to help us think about whether it truly makes sense to outsource all of our knowledge needs to commercial search engines, particularly at a time when the public is increasingly reliant on search engines in lieu of libraries, librarians, teachers, researchers, and other knowledge keepers and resources.

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What is even more crucial is an exploration of how people living as minority groups under the influence of a majority culture, such as people of color and sexual minorities in the United States, are often subject to the whims of the majority and other commercial influences such as advertising when trying to affect the kinds of results that search engines offer about them and their identities. If the majority rules in search engine results, then how might those who are in the minority ever be able to influence or control the way they are represented in a search engine?

The same might be true of how men's desires and usage of search is able to influence the values that surround women's identities in search engines, as the Ogilvy campaign might suggest. For these reasons, a deeper exploration into the historical and social conditions that give rise to problematic search results is in order, since rarely are they questioned and most Internet users have no idea how these ideas come to dominate search results on the first page of results in the first place. Google Search: Racism and Sexism at the Forefront My own encounter with racism in search came to me through an experience that pushed me, as a researcher, to explore the mechanisms — both technological and social — that could render the pornification of Black women a top search result, naturalizing Black women as sexual objects so effortlessly.

I assumed it to be an aberration that could potentially shift over time.

Safiya Noble - Challenging the Algorithms of Oppression

I kept thinking about it. The second time came one spring morning in , when I searched for activities to entertain my preteen stepdaughter and her cousins of similar age, all of whom had made a weekend visit to my home, ready for a day of hanging out that would inevitably include time on our laptops.


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In order to break them away from mindless TV watching and cellphone gazing, I wanted to engage them in conversations about what was important to them and on their mind, from their perspective as young women growing up in downstate Illinois, a predominantly conservative part of Middle America. I felt that there had to be some great resources for young people of color their age, if only I could locate them. I quickly turned to the computer I used for my research I was pursuing doctoral studies at the time , but I did not let the group of girls gather around me just yet.

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I opened up Google to enter in search terms that would reflect their interests, demographics, and information needs, but I liked to prescreen and anticipate what could be found on the web, in order to prepare for what might be in store. What came back from that simple, seemingly innocuous search was again nothing short of shocking: with the girls just a few feet away giggling and snorting at their own jokes, I again retrieved a Google Search results page filled with porn when I looked for "black girls" By then, I thought that my own search history and engagement with a lot of Black feminist texts, videos, and books on my laptop would have shifted the kinds of results I would get.

It had not. In intending to help the girls search for information about themselves, I had almost inadvertently exposed them to one of the most graphic and overt illustrations of what the advertisers already thought about them: Black girls were still the fodder of porn sites, dehumanizing them as commodities, as products and as objects of sexual gratification.

safiya noble dissertation

I closed the laptop and redirected our attention to fun things we might do, such as see a movie down the street. This best information, as listed by rank in the search results, was certainly not the best information for me or for the children I love. For whom, then, was this the best information, and who decides? What were the profit and other motives driving this information to the top of the results? How had the notion of neutrality in information ranking and retrieval gone so sideways as to be perhaps one of the worst examples of racist and sexist classification of Black women in the digital age yet remain so unexamined and without public critique?

That moment, I began in earnest a series of research inquiries that are critical in my work now. Of course, upon reflection, I realized that I had been using the web and search tools long before the encounters I experienced just out of view of my young family members. It was just as troubling to realize that I had undoubtedly been confronted with the same type of results before but had learned, or been trained, to somehow become inured to it, to take it as a given that any search I might perform using keywords connected to my physical self and identity could return pornographic and otherwise disturbing results.

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Why was this the bargain into which I had tacitly entered with digital information tools? And who among us did not have to bargain in this way? As a Black woman growing up in the late twentieth century, I also knew that the presentation of Black women and girls that I discovered in my search results was not a new development of the digital age.

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