prof.dr. (Payal) P Arora

prof.dr. (Payal) P Arora
Erasmus School of Philosophy ESPhil
Burg. Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam
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Payal Arora is a Full Professor and Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures at the Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is the Founder and Executive Director of a digital activism organization, Catalyst Lab. She is a digital anthropologist and author of several books including Dot Com Mantra: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas (Ashgate, 2010), The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0 (Routledge, 2015; Winner of the EUR Fellowship Award), and, The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West (Harvard University Press, 2019…

Payal Arora is a Full Professor and Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures at the Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is the Founder and Executive Director of a digital activism organization, Catalyst Lab. She is a digital anthropologist and author of several books including Dot Com Mantra: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas (Ashgate, 2010), The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0 (Routledge, 2015; Winner of the EUR Fellowship Award), and, The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West (Harvard University Press, 2019). She is the co-editor of Crossroads in New Media, Identity & Law: The Shape of Diversity to Come (Palgrave, 2015). Much of her research focuses on digital cultures, global inequality and data governance in the Global South. She has published over 50 papers in her field and has given 165 presentations in 102 cities in 52 countries, including a TEDx talk on the future of the internet. Her work has been extensively covered by numerous global media outlets including The Economist, NRC, The Nation, BBC, NDTV-India, F.A.Z, De Standaard, Tech Crunch, Quartz, CBC, Salon, and Vrij Nederland. Forbes called her the “next billion champion” and the right kind of person to change tech. She has consulted for both the public and private sector including hp, KPMG, Dutch Brewers, GE, and UNESCO. Her teaching has been recognized through a number of best teacher nominations and awards including the prestigious University Education Prize in 2017. Arora sits on several boards/advisory committees such as the Facebook Social Science One, Columbia University Earth Institute’s Connect to Learn, Technology, Knowledge & Society Association, Soteryx, Makeosity, and The World Women Global Council in New York. She was a Columnist for the Erasmus Magazine (2017-2019) and is the Media and Communication Section Editor for the Global Perspective Journal, a University of California Press journal. She has held Fellow positions at NYU Steinhardt, GE, Rio’s Institute of Technology and Society and ZeMKI at the University of Bremen. She has degrees from Harvard University (Masters in International Development Policy) and Columbia University (Doctorate in Language, Literacy & Technology) and a Teaching Certification from the University of Cambridge.

        • P. Arora (2015). Web 2.0 and beyond. In R. Mansell (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of digital communication and society (3 volume). London: Wiley Blackwell [go to publisher's site]
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2013). Art markets. In R. Towse & C. Handke (Eds.), Handbook on the digital creative economy (pp. 322-329). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
        • K. Kaun & P. Arora (2010). Global education greenhouse: Constructing and organizing online global knowledge. In S. Mukerij & P. Tripathi (Eds.), Cases in technological adaptability and transnational learning: Issues and challenges (pp. 208-222). Hershey: IGI Publication
        • P. Arora (2010). Copycats of the Central Himalayas. Learning in the age of information. In W. Kinuthia & S. Marshall (Eds.), Cases 'n' places: Global cases in educational technology (pp. 21-30). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing
        • P. Arora & A. Panikkar (2010). The Ramadan controversy: Dilemmas in negotiating between cultures through the study of Dutch and Iranian media discourses post Iranian uprising. In Y..R. Kamalipour (Ed.), Media, power, and politics in the digital age: The 2009 presidential election (pp. 191-202). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield
      • P. Arora & M. Kam (Eds.). (2011-2011) Global Media Journal, 11(18).
      • P. Arora & F.R.R. Vermeylen (2013). Bridging online and offline public social spheres to understand contemporary leisure space. In 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology
      • P. Arora (2013). Technological Innovations in Public Art Museums in Amsterdam and Mumbai. In 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology
      • P. Arora (2013). The Leisure Divide: Can the 'Third World come out to play. In International Communication Association (pp. 93-11)
      • P. Arora (2013). Chinese cowboy paintings as Western art? New Digital and Global Learning in Rural India. In Digital Crossroads: Media, Migration and Diaspora in a transnational perspective
      • P. Arora (2013). Digital glocalization or misinformation? Relating rural knowledge with global knowledge. In Co-production of Knowledge: Social media, STS Symposium
      • P. Arora (2012). Walled gardens: Privacy within public leisure space online and offline. In Amsterdam Privacy Conference
      • P. Arora (2012). Challenges in digitalizing medical software for diagnosis and treatment in rural India. In Urban Developments and emerging issues of inclusion, governance and sustainability in India
        • P. Arora (2018, oktober 22). The global poor need less innovation: A critique of Silicon Valley’s human laboratories. University of Tampere, Opponent talk at PhD defense ceremony.
        • P. AroraRegulated data. Regulated activism? Digital activism in the GDPR era. Universität Hamburg,
        • P. Arora (2018, maart 15). Communal politics in digital India. IIT-Delhi and Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) Munich, Digital Politics in Millennial India international symposium.
        • P. Arora (2018, april 2). Poor@play: Mobilizing the ludic underclass in the digital age. School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, Etudier les cultures du numérique" (Studying Digital Cultures).
        • P. Arora (2018, april 22). Crowdsourcing as a platform for digital labor unions,’ Development Implications of Digital Economies. University of Manchester, Development Implications of Digital Economies (DIODE Network), UK Social and Economic Research Council.
        • P. Arora (2018, juni 15). Talent. Rotterdam, Rector Farewell speech.
        • P. Arora (2018, juni 21). Mood Tracking & the Emotive Politics of the Digital. University of Amsterdam, The Tracked Society. Interdisciplinary Approaches on Online Tracking, University of Münster and ABIDA, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
        • P. Arora (2018, september 29). Automating culture: How digital platforms are shaping the art world. Vienna University, the Belvedere Museum and Dorotheum auction house, Keynote speaker at the Tiamsa Conference.
        • P. Arora (2018, juli 16). Ethics in algorithmic exclusionary politics. Toulouse, Big data: uncovering new mobility patterns and redefining planning practices, EUROScience Open Forum, COST European Cooperation in Science and Technology.
        • P. Arora (2018, januari 11). Digital education innovation in developing countries. University of Cape Town, South Africa, Development Implications of Digital Economies (DIODE Network), UK Social and Economic Research Council.
        • P. Arora (2018, november 14). Emerging databased ‘democracies’ in China and India. The ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen, ZEMKI Visiting Research Fellow talk.
        • P. Arora (2018, december 1). The Golden Standard as a Global standard? The Politics of Global Privacy in the GDPR era. Zeppelin University, Invited speaker.
        • P. Arora (2018, november 27). Above the law and below poverty: Databased obfuscations, activism and publicity from the global South. Humboldt University Berlin, The Future of Law: Technology, Innovation and Access to Justice.
        • P. Arora (2018, december 3). Big Data from the South: Decolonization, Resistance & Creativity. Amsterdam, DATACTIVE University of Amsterdam.
        • P. Arora (2017, september 1). Graduation talk for MA in New Media and Digital Culture. Amsterdam, Graduation MA students.
        • P. Arora (2017, april 11). Silicon Valley’s human laboratories. Erasmus University College, Seeing the Unseen, EUCxInspire.
        • P. Arora (2017, februari 17). Digital cultures, communities and the commons. Collège des Bernardins, Paris, Numerique & Diversité culturelle [Digital & Cultural Diversity].
        • P. Arora (2017, augustus 24). Is there such a thing as an academic activist? Stepping outside of academia. Erasmus University Rotterdam, Media and culture in everyday life.
        • P. Arora (2016, oktober 5). Digital privacy and citizenship: Comparing Facebook practices across low-income contexts in India and Brazil. Berlin, Germany, Association of Internet Researchers.
        • P. Arora (2016, november 30). Keynote Databased democracies in the Global South. University of Jyväskylä, Development Seminar series.
        • P. Arora (2016, juni 28). Invited Lecture Slumdog romance: Facebook love and digital privacy in the global south. Penn Wharton China Center, Beijing China, The 2nd International conference on Communication and the Public: Body, Lived Space, and Mobile Media.
        • P. Arora (2016, april 22). Invited Lecture Is there a global digital privacy culture? Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture.
        • I. Segers & P. Arora (2016, mei 24). Smashing patriarchy with cell phones? – Critique of dominant technofeminist perspectives on mobile phone-enabled women’s empowerment programmes in Bangladesh. Fukuoka Japan, Feminist Studies Division, International Communication Association.
        • P. Arora (2016, juni 8). The politics of algorithms in shaping citizenship in the global South. Fukuoka Japan, Algorithms, Automation and Politics Preconference.
        • P. Arora (2016, juni 4). The everyday struggles of citizenship in the digital public sphere: Navigating digital privacy and political activism in India and Brazil. Kobe Japan, Cultural Struggle and Praxis: Negotiating Power and the Everyday, The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies.
        • P. Arora (2015, januari 25). Nobody knows Snowden! Digital Privacy, Surveillance and Big data policy in Emerging Economies. Bangalore, Invited lecture: Global Communication Association Conference.
        • P. Arora (2014, november 1). Invited lecture. Göttingen, Colloquium on Cybercultures in India.
        • P. Arora (2014, september 1). Invited lecture. Philadelphia, Memes and Protest symposium, Annenberg School for Communication, Social Science Research Council (SSRC).
        • P. Arora (2014, juni 1). The Leisure Commons for the Uncommon New Publics. Rotterdam, IMISCOE Research Initiative Information and Communication Technologies and Migration.
        • P. Arora (2013, mei 1). Are we all connoisseurs now? The changing landscape of art expertise in the digital age. Zurich, Expertise In Judgment of Art: History, Technology, Law and the Market, the Swiss Institute for Art Research (SIK-ISEA).
        • P. Arora (2013, november 1). Invited lecture. Amsterdam, Society of the Query conference on Search and Search Engines, Institute of Network Cultures.
        • P. Arora (2013, november 1). Invited lecture. London, Mapping Cultural ConsumersOnline Symposium, the Dept of Culture, Media & Creative Industries, Kings College London.
        • P. Arora (2013, november 1). The Leisure Factory: Production in the Digital Age. Moscow, Conference Between Labour and Leisure: Towards the New Economy of Salvation, the Research Group ‘Labour, Knowledge and Leisure in Postindustrial Society’, Higher School of Economics.
        • P. Arora (2013, november 1). Invited lecture. Amsterdam, Frontiers of New Media symposium, The Beginning and End(s) of the Internet: Surveillance, Censorship, and the Future of Cyber-Utopia.
        • P. Arora (2013, juni 1). Invited lecture. Helsinki, World Conference of Science Journalists, The Critical Questioning in the Public Sphere.
        • P. Arora, P. Vishnu, E.G. Geraerts, S. Van de Walle, W. Schinkel, M.M.S.K. Sie & B.F. van Eekelen (2012, juni 1). How to become an "excellent" young academic researcher? Rotterdam, Erasmus Graduate School for the Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences meeting.
        • P. Arora (2012, oktober 1). Invited lecture. North Carolina USA, Workgroup on New Media and the Art Markets, Duke University.
        • P. Arora (2016, november 4). Invited Lecture Who is in charge of the future of the internet? Rotterdam, TEDxErasmus.
        • P. Arora (2015, mei 29). Invited lecture The Art Museum and Its New Publics. Essen, Museum Folkwang.
        • P. Arora (2011, juni 1). Social media, knowledge management and business. Shell Corporation, London, UK, Invited discussant.
        • P. AroraGuest lecture. Beirut, Amman, Chamber of commerce of the Social Economic Council.
        • P. Arora (2011, december 1). New media and international development. Den Haag, Guest seminar at the International institute of social studies.
        • P. Arora (2018, september 2). data/mobile economy in Asia. Chatham House London, Digital Asia Hub Launch.
        • P. Arora (2018, augustus 27). Quantifying your talented self: How metrics is killing creativity. Erasmus University Rotterdam, EUR-pre-academic and interdisciplinary programme opening.
        • P. Arora (2017, november 6). Talent. Bernard Mandeville Foundation, City of Rotterdam, EUR and the Port of Rotterdam, Rotterdam Talent Week.
        • P. Arora (2019, september 2). fake news’ in the Asian context. Facebook, Social Science One Asia Launch.
        • P. Arora (2016, juni 30). Invited lecture digital marketing. Christie's London, Technology and the Art Market seminar, Christies.
        • P. Arora (2016, maart 22). Invited Lecture A critical examination of prizes to spur innovation using ICT in education. Paris, UNESCO Mobile Learning week: Innovating for Quality.
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2011). The rise of new experts: consumers and the art world in the digital age. Workshop Participatory knowledge production 2.0. Critical views and experiences: Maastricht (2011, maart 23).
        • P. Arora & F.R.R. Vermeylen (2011). The rise of the new experts: Digital learning in the art world. Participatory knowledge production 2.0: Critical views & experiences workshop: Maastricht virtual knowledge studio, Maastricht University (2011, maart 22 - 2011, maart 23).
        • P. Arora (2011). Cultures of cyberspace: A pedagogic framework. International association for media & communication research (IAMCR) conference: Istanbul, Turkey (2011, juli 12 - 2011, juli 18).
        • P. Arora (2011). Busyness in cybercafes: An Indian context. Symposium 'Slow down, you move too fast: Rethinking the culture of Busyness and IT: Seattle, USA (2011, mei 1 - 2011, mei 1).
        • P. Arora (2011). The folksong jukebox: Singing along for social change in rural India. International Communication Association (ICA) conference: Boston, USA (2011, mei 25 - 2011, mei 31).
        • P. Arora (2011). Cyberleisure as the new corporate work space: a real-virtual spatial investigation. British Sociological Association (BSA) conference: London School of Economics, London, UK (2011, april 5 - 2011, april 9).
        • P. Arora & F.R.R. Vermeylen (2011). Learning to evaluate art in the digital age. International Research Conference Artistic Work and Creativity in the digital era: images and sounds: University of Avignon and the Vaucluse, France (2011, mei 24 - 2011, mei 27).
        • P. Arora (2011). Digital labor and the new corporate workspace: A real-virtual spatial investigation. Post/Autonomia conference: UvA, Amsterdam (2011, mei 19 - 2011, mei 22).
        • P. Arora (2011). Can the poor come out to play? Reassessing the role of online leisure in ICTD research. International association For Media & Communication Research (IAMCR) conference: Istanbul, Turkey (2011, juli 12 - 2011, juli 18).
        • P. Arora (2011). Walled gardens: An analysis of the public-private nature of online leisure spaces. International association for media and communication research (IAMCR) conference: Istanbul, Turkey (2011, juli 12 - 2011, juli 18).
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2011). The rise of new experts: consumers and the art world in the digital age. ECREA Workshop on Digital Culture and Communication: Barcelona (2011, november 14 - 2011, november 15).
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2011). Battling uncertainty: old and new experts in the market for visual arts. Conference Exploring risk and uncertainty. Metaphores from the art market: London (2011, september 22 - 2011, september 23).
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2011). The end of the art connoisseur? Experts in the visual arts market in past and present. Conference Artistic work and creativity in the digital era: Images and Sounds: Avignon (2011, mei 17 - 2011, mei 24).
        • P. Arora & F.R.R. Vermeylen (2011). Shaping the culture of art markets through new digital learning and evaluation. ECREA Digital Culture and Communication Workshop: Barcelona, Spain (2011, november 24 - 2011, november 25).
        • P. Arora (2011). Digital gods: the makings of a medical fact in rural diagnostic software. American society for information science and technology (ASIS&T) conference: New Orleans, USA (2011, oktober 8 - 2011, oktober 13).
        • P. Arora (2010). Usage of new media in higher education in the Middle East. Jordan Ministry of Higher Education in partnership with The Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC): Amman, Jordan (2010, juni 6 - 2010, juni 6).
        • P. Arora (2010). Metaphorizing online social sites as virtual parks: A historical investigation into leisure online and offline. The Technology, Knowledge & Society Conference: Berlin (2010, januari 14 - 2010, januari 18).
        • P. Arora (2010). Media & Social responsibility in the Age of the Financial Crisis. Globalization for the Common Good Conference: California (2010, juni 10 - 2010, juni 10).
        • P. Arora (2009). Siliconizing youth in Indian education policy: Rearticulating "Technological Youth" as Common Sense. Presentation at the Global Communication Association (GWA) Conference: Bangalore (2009, november 26 - 2009, november 27).
        • R. Koenig & P. Arora (2018). Imagining the diversity algorithm: Alternatives in ideological governance and their challenges. Amsterdam Privacy Conference: Amsterdam (2018, oktober 5 - 2018, oktober 8).
        • P. Arora (2018). Decolonizing privacy studies: Privacy literacy frameworks in the Global South. Fifth Annual ACGS Conference: Global Critical Pedagogies: Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies (2018, oktober 18 - 2018, oktober 19).
        • P. Arora (2018). Hacking poverty through technology innovations. International Conference on Technology, Knowledge & Society: New York, USA (2018, maart 1 - 2018, maart 2).
        • P. Arora, L. Taylor, A. Martin & S. Jameson (2018). Panel 'Data and the Global South' (Panel organizer). Amsterdam Privacy Conference: Amsterdam (2018, oktober 5 - 2018, oktober 8).
        • S.P. Shihomeka & P. Arora (2018). Old and New Media Popularity, Affordances and Preferences as Sources for Rural Youth Politics in Namibia. International Communication Association (ICA) Conference: Prague, Czech Republic.
        • P. Arora, M. Kraidy, M. Jiang, S. Udupa & W. Willems (2018). Roudtable on Colonial Imaginations, Techno-Oligarchs and Digital Technology (roundtable organizer). International Communication Association (ICA) Conference: Prague, Czech Republic (2018, mei 24 - 2018, mei 28).
        • P. Arora, N. Rangaswamy & L. Scheiber (2015). Slumdog romance, politics and digital privacy among marginalized Brazilian and Indian youth. Amsterdam Privacy Conference: Amsterdam (2015, oktober 23 - 2015, oktober 26).
        • P. Arora (2015). Bottom of the Data Pyramid,’ Big Data and the Politics of Participation in a Digital Age. International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society: Common Ground Publishing (2015, februari 23 - 2015, februari 24).
        • P. Arora (2015). Big data Commons and the global South. IS4IS Summit Vienna 2015, ‘The Information Society at the Crossroads: Vienna (2015, juni 3 - 2015, juni 7).
        • P. Arora (2015). Keynote. The International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society on Big Data and the Politics of Participation in a Digital Age: (2015, februari 23 - 2015, februari 24).
        • P. Arora (2015). Keynote on 'Big data Commons and the global South. The ISIS Summit Vienna 2015, the Information Society at the Crossroad: Vienna, Austria (2015, mei 1).
        • P. Arora (2015). Keynote on 'Digital Media, Digital Transition and Internet of Things. 13th Annual Session Dialogue of Civilizations: Rhodes, Greece (2015, oktober 1).
        • P. Arora & F.R.R. Vermeylen (2014). The new cultural commons: the art world, new media and a democratic promise. The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS): Wassenaar (2014, november 18 - 2014, november 20).
        • F.R.R. Vermeylen & P. Arora (2012). The valorization of art and experts in the contemporary market. 17th International Conference Association of Cultural Economists international: Kyoto, Japan (2012, juni 21 - 2012, juni 24).
        • P. Arora (2012). Temporality in the Sociomaterial Mangle. Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S): Copenhagen (2012, oktober 17 - 2012, oktober 20).
        • P. Arora (2012). Reconfiguring village studies - "Rural Poverty = Information Poverty? Computers as new knowledge brokers in rural India.
        • P. Arora (2012). Learning, leisure and new technology adoption and usage.
        • P. Arora (2012). Keynote on Capitalizing on contested identities for business innovation. West-Asia-North African Forum: Amman, Jordan (2012, mei 1).
      • P. Arora (2011, augustus 1). The Dot Com Mantra book. Imperica
      • P. Arora (2018). When exotic digital cultures become mainstream (2018, april 12). Austria: Democracy and (Dis)Information Society: On the Function and Dissemination of Big Data, Fake News and Conspiracy Theories, Universität Salzburg, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie and Universität Münster
      • P. Arora (2017). Digital cultures for social activism and change in the global South (2017, april 24). University of Oslo: Oromo Studies Association
      • P. Arora (Live video coverage of talk) (2011, dec 12). Does culture matter? Business Communication in this digital and global age. [televisie-uitzending]. In Leaders of Tomorrow. Jordan Live TV.
      • P. Arora (Interview) (2011, okt 21). New media, education and South Asia. [radio-uitzending]. In Dilshad Deyani Show. Texas radio.
      • P. Arora (Video interview) (2011, apr 15). Entrepreneurship and new media learning:. [webcast]. In One Minute Education. HOPE.
      • P. Arora (2016). Prizes for innovation: Impact analysis in the ICTs for Education sector. (Extern rapport). : United Nations Education Commission
  • Media and Business Transformations

    Media and Business Transformations
    Year level

    Master's Thesis

    Master's Thesis
    Year level
    (MA) (MA) (MA) (MA)

    Globalization, Digitalization and Cult.

    Globalization, Digitalization and Cult.
    Year level

    Contemporary Approaches to Dig. Cultures

    Contemporary Approaches to Dig. Cultures
    Year level
    (MA-1) (MA-2)
  • University
    Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Erasmus School of Philosophy
    The Netherlands


Visiting address

Burg. Oudlaan 50 3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738 3000 DR Rotterdam