SAFIYA UMOJA NOBLE, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, gender and technology in the United States, with a particular focus on representation in digital media platforms. Her research and teaching interests include the political economy of the Internet; critical perspectives on Black women’s representation in technology systems; digital popular culture and the arts; the role of Black labor in technology production, manufacturing, consumption and disposal of information and communication technologies; and the role of digital technology in public life. Safiya earned her Ph.D. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Information in Society Fellow, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno and an M.S. from the University of Illinois. She has published on the political economy of Geographic Information Systems. Her current research, “Searching for Black Girls: Old Traditions in New Media” illumines how technology platforms represent gendered and racialized identities, which she has written about for the public press in Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Safiya regularly blogs on critical perspectives on digital technology culture from a Black feminist perspective and is actively involved in Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC). Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she spent over 15 years in multicultural and urban marketing and advertising.

She is a member of SisterNet and works on a variety of community activities, including


Also found in Research on African-Americans in Champaign County: A Webliography


External links

  • A minute with Safiya Noble
  • Searching for black girls: old traditions in new media (Professor Noble's dissertation)
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Black Feminist Thought as a Contribution to Community Informatics, 2009
    Over the past 20 years, from 1989 to 2009, researchers and community members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been consistently involved in exploring and applying technology usage in the local community, specifically in African-American communities in Illinois. This effort was, in part, an attempt to understand the benefits, obstacles and constraints of informaticizing community activities and preserving and digitizing culture among technologically under-served (and often “redlined”) communities. This paper highlights specific initiatives and collaborations that have been a part of the development and institutionalization of a Community Informatics Initiative in the Graduate School of Library & Information Science at Illinois through the lens of Black feminism. Building on the assorted and emerging definitions of Community Informatics (CI) by researchers who have been at the forefront of grassroots and localized technology programs, this paper will attempt to identify two major theoretical and philosophical approaches to merging community-based interests with technological application and integration and posits a third. By examining two contrasting CI projects from Illinois from a Black Feminist perspective, I attempt to learn how to improve sustainability and model CI projects that affect African-Americans.

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