AMST Book Club: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism with Dr. Katherine Walden


Location: Zoom

The third meeting of the American Studies Department’s racial justice book club will take place Monday October 19 at 5pm EST. Our own Dr. Katherine Walden will facilitate a conversation on Safiya Umoja Noble’s 2018 Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (New York University Press).


Please join us for the conversation.


Members of the Notre Dame community can access an electronic version of the book through the Hesburgh Libraries (access link). It is also available for purchase at the Brain Lair.



Here’s what the Los Angeles Review of Books had to say about Noble’s work: “[Noble’s] target is the internet, that structuring machine of everyday life...Noble contests this fantasy of the internet as equalizing device. Rather than focus on what it facilitates, she explores the internet as infrastructure, investigating what is hidden from view by mathematical algorithm. Noble argues instead that the web is instead a machine of oppression, a set of ‘digital decisions’ that ‘reinforce oppressive social relationships and enact new modes of racial profiling.’ The internet is not a magic box spitting out facts...Code is power, and it is white and male.”


Those unfamiliar with search engines and how they work are encouraged to watch’s “The Internet: How Search Works” 5 minute YouTube video.


Author bio: Dr. Noble is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Information Studies where she serves as the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2). She also holds appointments in African American Studies and Gender Studies. She is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and has been appointed as a Commissioner on the Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance (OxCAIGG). She is a board member of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, serving those vulnerable to online harassment.

Algorithms Of Oppression