Gregory Narr received his PhD in Sociology from CUNY in 2021. He studies the intersection of technology, sociality, and capitalism from a critical algorithms perspective. His work is informed by queer, critical race, and affect theory. He is currently turning his dissertation, Dating apps, or, ghosts in the viral affect machine, into a book. In this book, he uses dating apps as a case study to uncover ghosts in the machines central to data-driven capitalism – touchscreen phones. While the book explores ghosting as a widespread practice on dating apps, it is more concerned with unpacking how algorithms capture, measure, and modulate data from the absentminded behaviors of users. It argues these algorithms act as ghosts that pull users into dating dynamics misaligned with their conscious desires and perpetuate pernicious social forces. An example of this research can be found in Studies in Gender and Sexuality as “The uncanny swipe drive: the return of a racist mode of algorithmic thought on dating apps.”
He is currently devising a new project to continue interrogating how dating apps both advance and potentially disrupt unseemly effects of data-driven capitalism and its colonization of everyday life. In contrast to his previous project – which focused on the very popular dating platforms of OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble – this new project investigates less mainstream dating apps. And while he developed conceptual and methodological tools for understanding the shift from PC’s to touchscreen phones in his previous study, he is developing tools to understand AI, virtual reality, and video dating in his next project.
At Harvard, he teaches classes on online dating, social media, and science and technology studies.