Social & Cultural Studies

Related Faculty

Morgan G. Ames
Assistant Professor of Practice
Alumni (MIMS 2006)
Science and technology studies; computer-supported cooperative work and social computing; education; anthropology; youth technocultures; ideology and inequity; critical data science
Coye Cheshire
Professor
Trust, social exchange, social psychology, and information exchange

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

Students using post it notes

Led by Professor John Chuang, Info 290: Climate, People, and Informatics seeks to explore the burgeoning field of climate informatics and equip students with the necessary language and contextual knowledge to contribute. 

two headshots; one man with child on shoulders, Kevin Lustig; man hiking, Ando Shah

Kevin Lustig and Ando Shah have been awarded the 2022–23 Quigley/Heffernan Family Environmental Fellowship.

Photo of Hany Farid smiling

Apparently, the people has spoken, and they want former President Donald Trump back on Twitter. However, Hany Farid believes that this would be the worst time for him to return to the social media platform. 

photo of Alex Hanna, smiling

Alex Hanna discusses how social media impacts our democracy; how Twitter has affected past U.S. elections; and how Musk’s most recent changes to the platform could affect the flow of disinformation moving forward.

photo of Richmond Wong, smiling, on the UC Berkeley campus near Sather Gate

Richmond Wong, Ph.D. ’20, shares how period-tracking apps share users’ data.

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