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Ethnographer of Data Science

Posted: 9/8/2016 (Employment)

The Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington (UW) Seattle seeks an ethnographer of data science for a 36-month postdoctoral research scientist position, starting January 2017.

The hired candidate will work with Prof. David Ribes in Seattle, and in collaboration with Geoffrey C. Bowker (and an additional postdoc) at the UC Irvine School of Informatics. The postdoc will collaborate in the investigation of the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs and Spokes program (BDHubs), an NSF funded “umbrella organization” for US Big Data and data science. The project will investigate the ongoing activities at the BDHubs and its partner institutions, study their emerging plans for the future, and tie these to the history of research infrastructures. The goal is to understand the rise and institutionalization of the “data sciences,” including organizational, methodological, epistemological and infrastructural transformations at the nexus of science, industry and state.

The ideal candidate will be trained in the social and/or information sciences and have a grasp of the field of Science & Technology Studies (STS); have good communication skills; have a strong background in qualitative methods; and be able to navigate a highly interdisciplinary field of investigation. Additional methodological skillsets welcome!

At UW, the postdoc will be encouraged to engage with a variety of related investigations of big data and data science by scholars in HCDE, the iSchool, ethnographers at the eScience Institute, and the broader Science, Technology and Society Studies (STSS) network.

Review of applicants begins October 1st 2016 and the position will remain open until filled. To apply, please submit:

  1. A brief letter;
  2. A curriculum vita;
  3. A sample of scholarly work; and
  4. The names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no letters of recommendation required).

Specific questions regarding the research profile of the position should be addressed to David Ribes (

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Deadline: 10/01/2016

Location: University of Washington