“But unless theory is unanswerable, either through its successes or failure, to the essential untidiness, the essential unmasterable presence that constitutes a large part of historical and social situations (and this applies equally to theory that derives from somewhere else and theory that is ‘original’), then theory becomes an ideological trap.”  (Edward Said ‘Traveling Theory’ 1983: 173)

Bio: Hello world! I am Noopur. I am an interdisciplinary researcher of all things socio-technical with interests in understanding global futures of work, changing values and moral norms and projects of personhood especially in postcolonial settings.

In Fall 2023, I will be starting as assistant professor at the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. From July 2022-23, I will be at the Computational Media Department at UC Santa Cruz – Silicon Valley Extension Campus as a postdoctoral researcher studying the role of organizational structures, processes and cultures in shaping the politics of Big Tech corporations.

Until July 2022, I was a postdoc researcher at the AI Now Institute at New York University. I received my PhD in Informatics from University of California Irvine (UCI) in September 2020. My dissertation titled ‘Platform Living – theorizing life, work and ethical enactments in the gig economy’ looked at  work, consumption and life experiences within gig platforms through ethnographic research in Bengaluru (among other places). It also explored the moral economy of the gig economy. Please click around to read my published and unpublished work on the gig economy, automation and global South. 

For potential collaborators and students looking to work with me:

I am broadly interested in research projects that interrogate the impact of emerging technologies in shaping *not only* the economic conditions of paid work but also paid and unpaid care work, and networks of kinship and solidarity that form around, within and outside platforms. I am predominantly interested in tracking how technological participation changes gendered norms, class and caste hierarchies and social life in urban spaces, especially outside of the US and Western Europe. 

My training is in Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial History, Cultural Anthropology and Critical Information Studies and I am always eager to think and write with folks interested in affective and corporeal dimensions of digital participation, play and pleasure as well as marginality as a space of life and knowledge-making. 

I was a CTSP Fellow at UC Berkeley (2020-21). I was a Technology, Law and Society Fellow (2017-18) at UC Irvine and an alumna of the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (2016-17). I also run a mentor list for international students looking to apply to PhD programs.

The best way to reach me is to email at noopur [dot] raval [at] gmail [dot] com