Alex Hanna

Position title: Member, Board of Visitors, Since 2022


Alex Hanna

BS, 2007, Computer Science and Mathematics, Purdue University
BA, 2007, Sociology, Purdue University
MS, 2013, Sociology, UW-Madison
PhD, 2016, Sociology, UW-Madison

Alex says that Sociology gives her an analytical lens for looking at the world that is beyond the individual and connects to the institutional and structural. As a tech worker, she is in a field where people focus too much on the technical aspects of systems and not enough around the context around them. Sociology allows her to expand her analysis and incorporate a more holistic view around how technology can affect us.

Dr. Alex Hanna is Director of Research at the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR). A sociologist by training, her work centers on the data used in new computational technologies, and the ways in which these data exacerbate racial, gender, and class inequality. She also works in the area of social movements, focusing on the dynamics of anti-racist campus protest in the US and Canada.

Dr. Hanna has published widely in top-tier venues across the social sciences, including the journals Mobilization, American Behavioral Scientist, and Big Data & Society, and top-tier computer science conferences such as CSCW, FAccT, and NeurIPS. Dr. Hanna serves as a co-chair of Sociologists for Trans Justice, as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies, and sits on the advisory board for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and the Scholars Council for the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. FastCompany included Dr. Hanna as part of their 2021 Queer 50, and she has been featured in the Cal Academy of Sciences New Science exhibit, which highlights queer and trans scientists of color.