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KMi congratulates Dr. Joseph Kwarteng for successfully defending his doctoral thesis

Nancy Pontika, Wednesday 27 Mar 2024

On 19th March 2024, Dr. Joseph Kwarteng successfully defended his doctoral thesis, “Understanding Misogynoir: Challenges in Identifying Intersectional Hate”. 

His PhD focuses on the phenomenon of “Misogynoir,” an intersectional hate speech, highlighting the combined racial and gender-based prejudices specifically targeting Black women and girls. It explores the challenges in identifying and understanding Misogynoir within digital spaces, employing a comprehensive study that converges both qualitative and quantitative analyses. The research emphasises the nuanced and context-dependent nature of Misogynoir, evaluating the effectiveness of current automated hate speech detection tools and the impact of annotator identities on interpreting such hate speech. Through detailed analysis and evaluation, the thesis aims to advance our understanding and knowledge of intersectionality in hate speech and also advocates for the creation of more sophisticated, context-sensitive tools for detecting intersectional hate speech, thereby contributing towards creating a safer and more equitable online environment for Black women.

His PhD supervisors were Professor Miriam Fernandez, Dr Tracie Farrell and Dr Aisling Third. Prof. Fernandez said that “Working with Joseph during his PhD journey has been an absolute pleasure!  His dedication to exploring the fascinating topic of Misogynoir was inspiring, and his performance during the defence, especially in the Q&A, was outstanding. Joseph has a bright future ahead and wish him all the very best!

Dr. Farrell mentioned that “Joseph has been an outstanding student and a joy to work with. He has proved he has the ability to accept the challenge of a very demanding and socially significant topic and we know he has great things ahead of him.” 

Dr. Third commented that “It’s been a delight to work with Joseph and to watch him succeed in a very difficult and hugely important area, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him thrive in his future work. Congratulations, Joseph!

The chair of Joseph’s examination committee was Dr. Patrick Wong – Senior Lecturer in Computing & Communications, The Open University. His external examiner was, Dr Arkaitz Zubiaga – Senior Lecturer and Director of Graduate Studies (Research), Queens Mary University of London and internal examiner, Dr. Jenny Douglas – Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, The Open University. 

Dr. Zubiaga said that: “Joseph has made a significant contribution to the understudied problem of misogynoir online. Where research has primarily focused on more general types of online abuse such as sexism and racism, Joseph’s research brings a new angle to the problem by looking at how intersectional hate in the form of misogynoir is shaped online. His thesis provides new insights into better understanding the problem, as well as unearthing the current limitations towards building AI models for automatically detecting this type of online abuse.”

Dr. Douglas mentioned: “This is an excellent PhD study that contributes to an understanding of the phenomenon of mysogynoir and the complexities associated with intersectional hate speech drawing on social science, humanities, and computational approaches designed for hate speech detection. The thesis makes a significant contribution to the field, exploring the complexities of misogynoir online and demonstrating ways in which intersectional hate speech can be identified and understood. Joseph Kwarteng gave a very articulate and robust defence of his thesis at his viva.

Dr. Joseph Kwarteng is set to further his research endeavours in KMi, taking on the role of Research Associate. Working with Professor John Domingue, Joseph will contribute to the Smart Assessment and Guided Education with Responsible AI (SAGE-RAI) project. Their investigation will focus on exploring the potential of responsible Generative AI in revolutionizing tutoring by providing more personalized learning experiences and generating tailored feedback for students.

From left to right: Prof. Miriam Fernandez, Dr. Joseph Kwarteg and Dr.Tracie Farrell.

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