Postdoc position

Seeking a postdoc to manage a year long project on Algorithmic Opacity and Fairness working with Professor Jenna Burrell and Professor Deirdre Mulligan at the School of Information, UC-Berkeley.

Artificial intelligence is raising new concerns around topics of longstanding interest to sociologists, law, and media scholars including social equality, civil rights, labor and automation, and the evolution of the news media. Complex, non-linear algorithms, and particularly machine learning algorithms, are increasingly being used in domains of socially consequential classification. The development of approaches or solutions to address these challenges are still nascent.

At UC-Berkeley we are bringing together faculty and students from sociology, law, computer science and other relevant disciplines to explore and develop ideas and new research directions on this topic. There will be opportunities to dialogue about this topic and its many dimensions with researchers employed in the Bay Area’s tech industry. The project is funded by a grant from Google research.

The postdoc hired for this position will provide intellectual leadership and will handle the logistics of managing an on-campus working group of faculty and students as well as organizing a speaker series for the 2017-2018 academic year (likely to be extended into fall 2018).

You will dedicate 50% of your time to this effort and will have the freedom to pursue your own research the rest of the time.


  • Ideal candidates will have completed a PhD in an interdisciplinary program (perhaps from an Information School or an STS program) or have training in more than one discipline (i.e. an undergraduate degree in CS or another engineering field and a graduate degree in a social science).
  • Candidates are able to grasp technical aspects of machine learning and artificial intelligence and are also trained in and comfortable with interpretivist / non-positivist research methods or philosophies.
  • Candidates may have expertise in a particular domain where machine learning or artificial intelligence tools and techniques are becoming influential (i.e. education, labor and employment, journalism and media).
  • Candidates will have a strong research record (ideally in this area) and will also be passionate about finding ways to communicate ideas across disciplinary boundaries and to audiences beyond the Academy.

Please submit:

  • a brief cover letter describing how you are qualified and prepared for this position
  • a CV
  • writing sample #1: an example of one of your published research articles or dissertation chapter or other finished, but unpublished piece that is of greatest relevance to this topic
  • writing sample #2 (optional): an example of something you’ve published that communicates research or ideas to a broader audience (i.e. a blog post, op-ed, etc.)

Send application packet to Professor Jenna Burrell ( )

Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis with the position filled as soon as possible, ideally the start of the semester (August 23rd, 2017).

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