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Btihaj Ajana profile image
Btihaj Ajana profile image

Professor Btihaj Ajana

Professor of Ethics and Digital Culture

Research interests

  • Digital

Biography

Btihaj is an international scholar and media practitioner in the fields of digital culture and social analysis. Her academic research is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on the intersections between technology, biopolitics and ethics. She looks at these in various contexts including developments in surveillance technologies and biometric identity systems, digital health and self-tracking culture, museums and curatorial processes, and immigration and citizenship governance.

One of Btihaj’s most recent projects addresses the phenomenon of the Quantified Self and health tracking via a Marie Curie Fellowship she was awarded at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies. Find out more on www.metriclife.net. She is currently looking at the politics of immunity and Covid-19.

Btihaj holds a BA (Hons) with First Class in Media Studies and Computing Science from London South Bank University, an MA with Distinction in Digital Media from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she worked under the supervision of Professor Nikolas Rose. Prior to joining King’s College London in 2010, she taught sociology at the LSE and worked with media organisations specialising in factual programming about the Middle East. 

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Biometrics, Big Data, and identification systems
  • Theories of subjectivity, identity and selfhood
  • Self-tracking and the Quantified Self
  • Politics of Covid-19
  • Politics of borders, immigration, and citizenship
  • Museums and digital curation

Btihaj’s current research interests are concerned with the ethical, political and ontological aspects of technological developments and their intersection with everyday cultures. She has written extensively on the effects of digital technologies on issues of identity, embodiment, governance and cultural representation. Her current research project examines the techno-political responses and public perceptions of immunity during Covid-19 pandemic. She is the author of Governing through Biometrics: The Biopolitics of Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and editor of Self-Tracking: Empirical and Philosophical Investigations (Springer, 2018) and Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices (Emerald, 2018).

Btihaj has supervised various PhD projects on themes such as feminist art and biopolitics, self-tracking and digital health, social media and identity, gender and technology, and digital curation. She welcomes PhD proposals in topics related to her research interests.

For more details, please see Btihaj's full research profile.

Teaching

Btihaj leads and teaches on the MA programme in Digital Culture and Society at the Department of Digital Humanities.

She also teaches optional modules on critical approaches to digital media, embodiment and identity.

In 2020, she became Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy. She is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Lead at the department of Digital Humanities where she oversees matters relating to curriculum diversification and the development of more inclusive teaching practices.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Btihaj is committed to exploring innovative ways of communicating academic knowledge and expertise to wider audiences and creating new forms of engagement and intellectual exchange. In addition to her academic work, Btihaj has been exploring filmmaking as a way of communicating her research to the general public. Her most recent films include Quantified Life; Surveillance Culture; and Fem's Way.

Btihaj has collaborated with various artists and cultural organisations to stimulate new ideas and creative output, combining academic research with artistic elements. Some examples of her collaborations include:

Euro-vision: a collaboration with artists, Audrey Samson and Francisco Gallardo, involving an art-led enquiry into the politics of immigration policies and border surveillance in Morocco and Europe. See Video summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I5GpzP-0eY&t=135s and podcast: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/somerset-house/3-euro-vision-or-the-making-K34VGqx5zsj/

Héroes Anónomos: a collaboration with OTOXO, a Barcelona-based film production company, involving the making of series of short films commissioned by the cultural magazine BCN Mes: http://bcnmes.com/culture/heroes-anonimos-de-barcelona-tenemos-video-serie/

1984: a collaboration with Headlong Theatre on their adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, involving putting into creative practice some of Btihaj’s academic research on issues of surveillance and technology, and the co-creation of the Digital Double app: http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2013/sep/20/1984-digital-double-mobile-app-theatre

(Re)Creating Culture: a collaboration with various UK and Gulf institutions, looking at the changing role of curators and issues of audience engagement and inclusion in museum practices: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/Cultural/-/Projects/(Re)creatingCulture.aspx

Btihaj is board member of project, BioMe: Existential Challenges and Ethical Imperatives of Biometric AI in Everyday Lifeworlds, at Uppsala University. She is also member of the international think tank Plural and various academic networks and associations such as Surveillance and Society Network and Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), and Consumer and Organisational Digital Analytics (CODA).

She has made guest appearances on a number of international media outlets and high-profile events including BBC Radio programme, Thinking Allowed, the United Nations summit, ID2020, the New Statesman, the Cycling Weekly magazine, Ny Tid, and Cheltenham Science Festival.

Btihaj has also been advising industries and governmental agencies, such as European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Sky TV, and Sanitas on issues of responsible technology and digital ethics.

 

    Research

    giammarco-zeH-ljawHtg-unsplash
    Centre for Philosophy and Art

    The Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts aims to bring together academics, artists, curators and gallerists to explore the connections between philosophy, theory and the visual arts.

    42564057_presentation-wide
    The Centre for the Humanities and Health

    A multidisciplinary forum interfacing the humanities, health, science & society.

    Header
    Centre for Technology and the Body

    Technology has always intersected with the human body. The food that we eat, the medicine we take, the goods we consume and all the materials that make up our environment were all, at one time or another, based on technological innovation.

    News

    Professor Btihaj Ajana publishes new book on the quantification of bodies in health

    A new book, ‘The Quantification of Bodies in Health: Multidisciplinary Perspectives’ edited by King’s College London Professor Btihaj Ajana with Simone Guidi...

    Book Cover_Ajana

    King's College London Lecturer Dr Btihaj Ajana publishes new book, Metric Culture

    King's College London Lecturer Dr Btihaj Ajana publishes new book, Metric Culture.

    Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices

    Btihaj Ajana's 'Surveillance Culture'

    Btihaj Ajana and co-director Anders Albrechtslund explore contemporary forms of surveillance in a new film.

    Surveillance Culture

    Btihaj Ajana's "Quantified Life" shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council's prestigious 2017 Research in Film Awards

    Watch a new 13-min documentary film entitled "Quantified Life" by Dr Btihaj Ajana, created in connection with her current research into digital health and...

    Quantified Life

    Dr Btihaj Ajana awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship

    Congratulations to Dr Btihaj Ajana who has been awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship (COFUND scheme).

    Quantified Self

      Research

      giammarco-zeH-ljawHtg-unsplash
      Centre for Philosophy and Art

      The Centre for Philosophy and Visual Arts aims to bring together academics, artists, curators and gallerists to explore the connections between philosophy, theory and the visual arts.

      42564057_presentation-wide
      The Centre for the Humanities and Health

      A multidisciplinary forum interfacing the humanities, health, science & society.

      Header
      Centre for Technology and the Body

      Technology has always intersected with the human body. The food that we eat, the medicine we take, the goods we consume and all the materials that make up our environment were all, at one time or another, based on technological innovation.

      News

      Professor Btihaj Ajana publishes new book on the quantification of bodies in health

      A new book, ‘The Quantification of Bodies in Health: Multidisciplinary Perspectives’ edited by King’s College London Professor Btihaj Ajana with Simone Guidi...

      Book Cover_Ajana

      King's College London Lecturer Dr Btihaj Ajana publishes new book, Metric Culture

      King's College London Lecturer Dr Btihaj Ajana publishes new book, Metric Culture.

      Metric Culture: Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices

      Btihaj Ajana's 'Surveillance Culture'

      Btihaj Ajana and co-director Anders Albrechtslund explore contemporary forms of surveillance in a new film.

      Surveillance Culture

      Btihaj Ajana's "Quantified Life" shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council's prestigious 2017 Research in Film Awards

      Watch a new 13-min documentary film entitled "Quantified Life" by Dr Btihaj Ajana, created in connection with her current research into digital health and...

      Quantified Life

      Dr Btihaj Ajana awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship

      Congratulations to Dr Btihaj Ajana who has been awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship (COFUND scheme).

      Quantified Self