News: My book Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media will be published by Yale University Press in the first half of 2019. 

“The Illusion of Volition” is maintained and populated by Sarah T. Roberts, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, at UCLA.

From 2013 to 2016, I was an assistant professor at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) at Western University.

I completed my doctoral studies and was a fellow in the IMLS-funded Information in Society program at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) – now the iSchool at Illinois – at the University of Illinois. I defended my doctoral dissertation in May 2014. Thanks for stopping by; I look forward to your comments.

For information about my teaching philosophy and experience, please click here.

The blog is primarily focused, as is its author, on discussions and dissections of notions of information in society, and its attendant sociocultural, economic and ethical implications, as well as the political economy of digital information, the Internet, ICT and popular media. Also under discussion are issues of digital (in)equities, Internet/networked culture, the nature of digital information, information transmission and dissemination, information as commodity/currency, digital and “new media” culture studies, gaming, critical historical technology studies, and Internet policy development.

Discussion includes my current academic research underway in digital labor and “knowledge work,” and the reconfigurations of labor and production in a Post-Industrial, globalized context. This includes topics related to my dissertation, Behind the Screen: the Hidden Digital Labor of Online Content Moderation, which has developed into a full-fledged and long-term research agenda on the phenomenon I call “commercial content moderation,” or CCM, for short.

Simpler times.

Attempting to engage in critical inquiry and reflection at the intersection of analog and digital worlds, I am ultimately and fundamentally concerned with social and economic equity and issues of power, control and justice, global and local. Other research streams under discussion here include work on personal digital media creation, use and curation in and as resistance movement(s), with special emphasis on the Wisconsin Labor Protests of 2011.

These writings are often works in progress, the beginnings (or continuations) of dialogs with others, and are likely not my final word or definitive thought on the topics they address, so please do regard them in that light. And, of course, all opinions expressed herein should be considered solely the opinion of the author and not of any institutions or individuals with which I have been associated in the past, present or future, unless otherwise directly stated. Drop in and say hello.  Welcome!


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