Social & Cultural Studies

Related Faculty

Morgan G. Ames
Assistant Adjunct Professor
Alumni (MIMS 2006)
Science and technology studies; computer-supported cooperative work and social computing; education; anthropology; youth technocultures; ideology and inequity; critical data science
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Associate Professor
how marginalized communities adapt technology, algorithmic fairness and opacity, human control over algorithms, ethnography
Coye Cheshire
Professor
Trust, social exchange, social psychology, and information exchange
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Adjunct Professor
The concept of information; the history of information; the history of "technocracy"; critical information studies.

Recent Publications

Apr 1, 2020

This paper introduces "infrastructural speculations," an orientation towards speculation that aims to interrogate and ask questions about the broader lifeworld within which speculative artifacts sit, placing the lifeworld (rather than an individual artifact) at the center of a designer's concern. 

The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child, by Morgan G. Ames
Nov 12, 2019

In The Charisma Machine, Morgan Ames chronicles the life and legacy of the One Laptop per Child project and explains why — despite its failures — the same utopian visions that inspired OLPC still motivate other projects trying to use technology to “disrupt” education and development.

Mar 15, 2019

Professionals tasked with preserving online security hope to use new machine-learning based techniques to develop a “fairer” system to determine patterns of “good” and “bad” usage, moving beyond regional blocking. However, we argue that these systems may continue to embed unequal treatments, and troublingly may further disguise such discrimination behind more complex and less transparent automated assessment.

Dec 15, 2018

What can machines know about the mind? This dissertation seeks to understand people’s beliefs about this question: how these beliefs affect and arise from interactions with digital sensors, from prior beliefs about the mind and the body; and how these beliefs may shape the design of technical systems in the future.

The purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, it surfaces that the boundary between sensing bodies and sensing minds is unstable, deeply entangled with social context and beliefs about the body and mind. Second, it proposes the porousness of this boundary as a site for studying the role that biosensing devices will play in near future. As biosensors creep into smart watches, bands, and ingestibles, their ability to divine not just what these bodies do, but what they think and feel, presents an under-explored avenue for understanding and imagining how thesetechnologies will come to matter in the course of life.

Nov 8, 2018

We investigate cybersecurity toolkits, collections of public facing materials intended to help users achieve security online. We look at design dimensions of these toolkits, and investigate how the toolkits construct security as a value and how they construct people as (in)secure users.

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Social & Cultural Studies news

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New research by Jenna Burrell looks under the surface of Internet culture in Ghana, exploring why many Ghanaians have struggled to form connections with foreigners and to share in the prosperity of the information age.

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Ph.D. students Megan Finn, Elisa Oreglia, Stuart Geiger, Christo Sims, and Bob Bell present their research on technology circulation in China, information dissemination for humanitarian relief efforts, online communities in physical space, gender and identity in digital youth culture, and African entrepreneurship, in at the annual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science.

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