Dr Rosie Graham BA (Hons), MA, PhD (Exon), AFHEA

Dr Rosie Graham

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and the Digital

My research and teaching explore contemporary digital culture by placing certain programs, platforms or services within a wider cultural and philosophical context. In particular, my current work draws on critical theory in order to address search engines as convergences of language, programming, and culture on a global scale. 


  • PhD English Studies (University of Exeter)
  • MA English Studies with specialist pathway in Criticism and Theory (University of Exeter)
  • BA (Hons) English Studies (University of Exeter)


I joined the University of Birmingham’s English Department in 2018. Prior to this, I completed my PhD at the University of Exeter, where I also taught various modules in critical theory. During my doctoral studies, I twice sailed as a faculty member on the Semester at Sea study abroad programme, sponsored by the University of Virginia. During these voyages, I circumnavigated the globe teaching courses in Travel Writing while visiting 24 countries and leading field classes in Ghana, Japan, Mauritius, India, Poland and Barbados. These experiences have given me a passion for travel and directed my academic work towards global focus.


I convene and teach modules in digital culture at every level of undergraduate study. In 2018/2019, I am teaching the following:

  • Discovering Digital Cultures (1st year, Convenor)
  • Digital Futures (2nd year, Convenor)
  • The End of Life As We Know It: The Implications of Digital Technology (3rd year, Co-convenor)

Postgraduate supervision

I would be very happy to hear from prospective students working in the following areas: digital culture, critical theory, contemporary literature, new media and software studies, literary theory, digital humanities, and videogame studies.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research explores the intersection of technology, language and culture in contemporary media forms within a global context. In 2023, I published Investigating Google’s Search Engine: Ethics, Algorithms, and the Machines Built to Read Us (Bloomsbury Academic). This book takes an interdisciplinary approach to search engine studies, drawing on a range of disciplines to critique Google's search engine from a philosophical, historical, financial, and ethical standpoint. I use these perspectives to explore topics such as algorithmic discrimination, fake news, and modes of platform capitalism. In doing so, I frame contemporary issues within digital culture as part of a longer history of technological engagement, for example, by looking back to Plato's critique of writing, medieval mnemonic techniques, twentieth-century science of cognition, and building on the twentieth and twenty-first-century traditions of critical theory.

I have also published articles specifically focused on the ethical duties of search engines and am currently working in collaboration with Open Search Foundation, contributing to the #ethicsinsearch project and sitting on the ethics working group. These projects aim to raise public awareness of ethical issues, influence European policy, and develop technological alternatives to the hegemony of Silicon Valley.  


Other activities

I have been involved with several digital projects outside of academia. Between 2013-15 I was employed as the Head of Digital Archiving for Tuckers Hall (Heritage Lottery Funded Project), in which I built and managed a database of textual documents, particularly Minute Books, relating to Exeter’s cloth trade from the 15th Century to the present. During 2014-2017 I worked as a digital consultant for UPID, a technology start-up based in Silicon Valley designing programs for measuring online trustworthiness using Natural Language Processing and Social-Context Networks.

In addition, from 2016 I have worked as a Research Assistant for The COVE: The Central Online Victorian Educator. My work has included providing HTML and CSS markup to 19th Century texts, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s sonnets and Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus.


Highlight publications

Graham, R 2023, Investigating Google’s Search Engine: Ethics, Algorithms, and the Machines Built to Read Us. Bloomsbury Studies in Digital Cultures, 1st edn, Bloomsbury Publishing. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/investigating-googles-search-engine-9781350325203/>

Graham, R 2023, 'The ethical dimensions of Google autocomplete', Big Data & Society, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517231156518

Graham, R 2017, 'Google and advertising: digital capitalism in the context of Post-Fordism, the reification of language, and the rise of fake news', Palgrave Communications, vol. 3, no. 1, 45, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-017-0021-4

Recent publications

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Graham, R 2014, A ‘History’ of Search Engines: Mapping Technologies of Memory, Learning and Discovery. in R König & M Rasch (eds), Society of the Query Reader: Reflections on Web Search. Institute of Network Cultures, pp. 105-120. <http://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/society-of-the-query-reader-reflections-on-web-search/>

Book/Film/Article review

Graham, R 2018, 'Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein (eds.), Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016, $35.00). Pp. 600.isbn 978 0 8166 9954 4.', Journal of American Studies, vol. 52, no. 02, e31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021875818000348

Graham, R 2016, 'From kindling to Kindles: a review of Matt Hayler, challenging the phenomena of technology: embodiment, expertise and evolved knowledge', Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, 000242. <http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/10/2/000242/000242.html>

Graham, R 2015, 'Paola Trimarco, Digital Textuality', Ad Alta: the Birmingham Journal of Literature, vol. 7. <http://upload.birmingham.imperiumuk.com/res_pageturner_flick.php?pt=122>

View all publications in research portal