Faculty Spotlight

Xiaochang Li: Assistant Professor, Communication 

Professor Xiaochang Li in a headshot with a black shirt.

Professor Li found STS through friends.

Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Li was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. She received her PhD from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and a Master’s Degree in Comparative Media Studies from MIT. It was here she notes that she was “first introduced to STS scholarship in the Masters’ program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT when I took an Ethnography seminar with Anthropologist Michael Fischer on the recommendation of some friends.” 

Fast forward and Professor Li now teaches one of STS’s most popular courses – COMM 186W: Media, Technology, and the Body. 

COMM 186W has been a favorite amongst STS students since she began teaching it in Spring 2020. The course takes a deep dive into how IT and the media play a role in our perception and understanding of the body across a wide range of industries and domains. In addition, her other course - COMM 184 Race and Media has been an essential part of the STS curriculum. The course is described as one that "covers themes such as representation and visual culture, media industries and audience practices, and racial bias in digital technology." During the 2020-2021 school year, Professor Li also served as an Honors Faculty Advisor for an STS student who wrote an extremely powerful and timely thesis titled: “Caught on Camera, but Not Convicted: Understanding the Embeddedness of Racial Bias in Police Body Cameras”. The depth and impact of this work made it a favorite amongst students, faculty, and staff at the Annual STS Honors Symposium.

As one of my primary areas of engagement, STS scholarship informs the core questions in my research.” - Professor Li

Her current research examines questions surrounding the relationship between information technology and knowledge production and its role in the organization of social life. In addition, she is working on a book that explores the history of automatic speech recognition and natural language processing and how the problem of mapping communication to computation shaped the rise of big data, machine learning, and related forms of algorithmic practice. 

We are shining a light on Professor Xiaochang Li. Educator. Innovator. Game Changer.