Jenna Burrell

Professor Jenna Burrell is Data & Society’s Director of Research. She oversees all aspects of our research program at Data & Society, ensuring the rigor and integrity of our work. Before joining D&S she was a Professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on how marginalized communities adapt digital technologies to meet their needs and to pursue their goals and ideals. At Berkeley she was the co-director of the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Group (AFOG) which brought together faculty and students from across campus to facilitate research on how algorithmic systems can be designed, used, or regulated to support more equitable and just societies. Burrell is the author of Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana (MIT Press) and is currently writing up her research findings from a multi-year project about rural communities that host critical internet infrastructure, such as fiber optic cables and data centers. She earned a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and a BA in Computer Science from Cornell University.

"Much of the scholarship on social justice and tech omits discussion of casteism. Yet South Asia and the South Asian diaspora is vast and very much intertwined with the high tech industry. Tech industry workplaces are often places of oppressive casteist dynamics that those of us who were not raised within South Asian caste hierarchies fail to see. The silence on casteism in conversations about tech design and tech workplace culture needs to change and Dr. Murali Shanmugavelan has pulled together both historical and contemporary readings to provide knowledgeable background and insight. This resource will help enormously for self-study, in advising students, and in directing colleagues and collaborators to learn more about this important topic."