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Miriam Posner: New IS Faculty Member One of Inside Higher Ed’s “Rising Stars of Digital Humanities”

In a recent Inside Higher Ed profile on “Rising Stars of Digital Humanities,” Miriam Posner was lauded for her work over the last five years as coordinator of the UCLA Program in Digital Humanities. She worked with students on projects focused on early African American cinema in Los Angeles, the Origin of the Species, and the Getty Provenance Index, which earned the students a Sotheby’s Institute of Art Research Award.

This fall, Posner joined the faculty of UCLA’s Department of Information Studies as an assistant professor of IS and Digital Humanities, and looks forward to delving deeper into the work she began at UCLA DH from an alternative-academic perspective.

“Digital humanities… I like to say it’s the combination of technology with humanities questions,” noted Posner at a talk she gave at the California African American Museum in September. “We try to find interesting problems that we can apply technology to. Sometimes it’s making maps to answer questions about history. Sometimes it’s using computers to analyze large bodies of text. Sometimes it’s just asking what would an academic book look like reimagined for the web.”

Posner’s work, which focuses on the intersection between information studies and humanistic inquiry, encompasses a range of topics, including the history of medical visualization, the history and philosophy of “data,” and the movement of data and goods under globalization. She is also, according to the Inside Higher Ed article, interested in “… materialist feminist work that takes critical race theory seriously. Many of the conventions of data visualization and data modeling assume a ‘neutrality’ that we know depends on a totalizing, imperialist view of the world.”

Posner’s interests in science and technology have led to her forthcoming book, “Depth Perception: Narrative and the Body in American Medical Filmmaking.” Her most recent publications include the articles “Data as Media” (with Lauren Klein) in Feminist Media Histories; “Tracing a Community of Practice” (with UCLA IS alumna Marika Cifor, ’17) in The Moving Image; and“What’s Next: The Radical, Unrealized Potential of Digital Humanities” in “Debates in the Digital Humanities” (University of Minnesota 2016).

Posner was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Digital Scholarship Commons at the Emory University Library, researching, designing and writing a grant to fund a new library-based digital humanities center. She has also served as an instructional innovation intern at the Yale University Instructional Technology Group; and associate curator at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY, curating, maintaining, and developing its collection of 125,000 artifacts.

At UCLA, Posner has previously taught a number of courses, including “Selfies, Snapchat, and Cyberbullies: Coming of Age Online,” “Digital Labor, Materiality, and Urban Space,” and undergrad and graduate levels of “Introduction to Digital Humanities.”

Professor Posner earned her Ph.D., Master of Philosophy, and Master of Arts in Film Studies and American Studies at Yale University.