FEED issue 28 Newsletter


Lauren Klein is an associate professor in the departments of English and Quantitative Theory & Methods at Emory University. We talk to her about the deceptive nature of data, how numbers aren’t neutral and about her new book Data Feminism, co-written with MIT’s Catherine D’Ignazio THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS RAW DATA

FEED: Can you tell us about your background? And ‘digital humanities’? LAUREN KLEIN: It’s one of those things where if you look backwards, it seems like it makes sense, but it definitely didn’t feel like it was making sense on the way. I’ve always been interested in computers and programming, but also reading and books. For most of my life, I thought I had to pick between them. I thought it was a binary choice. So I spent most of my 20s and some of my 30s toggling between them and then, right as I was finishing grad school for English – and I nearly

dropped out and went back to software development – it sort of dovetailed with the emergence of this new field in academia, called digital humanities. Digital humanities is about how you can take computational methods and use computers to answer humanities-type questions, historical questions, cultural questions, or to use humanistic approaches to ask questions about technology. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is what I’ve been wanting to do my whole life!’ So I left New York for a job at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. I was there for eight years. Then this past year, Emory University, also in Atlanta, was

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