Data Worlds

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Tuesday, April 9th 2019
Thursday, April 11, 2019
When: 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Doheny Memorial Library, Room 241
Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 17:00

Our fourth session of the spring 2019 series pairs two experts from Cinematic Arts and Computer Science to explore the multi-dimensional concerns surrounding DATA WORLDS­including but not limited to: race, gender, cyber security, big data, culture and technology design.

Polymathic Pairing:

Tara McPherson, Chair and Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, School of Cinematic Arts

Emilio Ferrara, Research Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Vitirbi School of Engineering

Tara McPherson

Tara McPherson is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is a core faculty member of the MAP program, USC’s innovative practice based-Ph.D., and also an affiliated faculty member in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department.  Her research engages the cultural dimensions of media, including the intersection of gender, race, affect and place.  She focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, and various online communities, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship.  Her most recent book is Feminist in a Software Lab: Difference + Design (Harvard UP: 2018).  Her Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South (Duke UP: 2003) received the 2004 John G. Cawelti Award for the outstanding book published on American Culture, among other awards.  She is co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture (Duke UP: 2003) and Transmedia Frictions; The Arts, the Humanities, and the Digital (California UP: 2015) and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning (MIT Press, 2008.)   She is the Founding Editor of Vectors,, a multimedia peer-reviewed journal and was a founding editor of the MacArthur-supported International Journal of Learning and Media.  Tara was among the founding organizers of Race in Digital Space, a multi-year project supported by the Annenberg Center for Communication and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. She has been a fellow at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and participates on numerous boards, film juries, and task forces. With major support from the Mellon Foundation and the NEH, she was the Lead PI on the development of the online authoring platform, Scalar, now situated within the Ahmanson Lab.

Photo of Emilio Ferrara

Dr. Emilio Ferrara

Dr. Emilio Ferrara is Research Assistant Professor at the Univerisity of Southern California and Research Leader at the USC Information Sciences Institute. Ferrara holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Messina (Italy), and his research interests include designing machine-learning systems to model and predict individual behavior in techno-social systems, characterize information diffusion and information campaigns, and predict crime and abuse in such environments. His research on social network abuse and crime prediction has been featured on the major news outlets (TIME, BBC, The New York Times, etc.) and tech magazines (MIT Technology Review, Vice, Mashable, New Scientist, etc). He was named IBM Watson Big Data VIP Influencer in 2015, and ranked 28th as Big Data Experts to Follow in 2016 by Maptive. He received the 2016 DARPA Young Faculty Award, and the 2016 Complex System Society Junior Scientific Award. He is a top 0.5% Kaggle competitor and participated in various data science competitions.