This semester, Dr. Miriam Posner (UCLA) is teaching a digital humanities undergraduate course, DH150: “Digital Labor.” Her open syllabus offers a thoughtful response to current issues and conversations at the intersections of technology, power, gender, and race, and leveraging video storytelling, to explore ways in which we as workers can regain agency in the ever shifting digital labor landscape.
Today, the world of work looks dramatically different than it did a generation ago. Where our parents or grandparents might have anticipated a steady paycheck and a stable job, we see a job market that abounds in gig work, influence marketing, hustling, and freelancing.
As we speak, artists wonder if AI has eliminated their livelihood—as do marketers, video producers, and even software developers. Meanwhile, Uber drivers, Mechanical Turkers, baristas, and healthcare workers do daily combat with the mysterious algorithms that apportion and pay for their labor.
Where do these changes come from? Why do they happen in the way they do? How do they interact with existing axes of power, like gender and race? Who benefits from these changes to the labor market? And what can we as workers do to gain some control over our livelihoods?
Posner’s syllabus includes topics such as generative AI and hustle and influencer cultures, and is an educational resource on the conversations around digital labor and for assignment examples of digital storytelling through video creation.