Broadly, my research investigates the cultural politics of high-tech work practices with a focus on how actors produce “innovation” cultures. I am an ethnographer of work trained to analyze interactional, organizational, and cultural dynamics as mediated by technology. I also draw on my training as a Computer Scientist and designer to develop novel technical, organizational systems for contexts I study. I specialize in the cultural politics of high-tech work in the context of global digitally-mediated economies, with a focus on the United States and India. I also have collaboratively designed, build, and maintain software (Turkopticon, Dynamo) that intervenes, resists, or demonstrates alternatives to existing platforms. Workers have turned Turkopticon into a worker-run advocacy organization that also operates the tool and website. At UCSD, I co-direct the Just Transitions Initiative and am faculty in Science Studies, the Design Lab, the Institute for Practical Ethics, Critical Gender Studies, and the South Asia Initiative . I sit on the AI Now Academic Council.
My first book Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India (Princeton University Press, 2019) explains the history and politics of rendering development as a call to entrepreneurship, and the pull and contradictions of this call to sort a nation into innovators and their others. The book is the winner of the 2020 International Communication Association Outstanding Book Award and 2019 Diana Forsythe Prize. Listen to an interview about the book on Against the Grain (KPFA) or Lekh South Asia.
My second book, Redacted (co-authored with journalist Jesse Marx) reflects on surveillance and publicity, transparency and collective action, as well as organizations and accidents. It offers practical advice and critical and sardonic readings of redacted government documents. it is published by Taller California, a small press dedicated to works that engage the border as a socio-political space.
I am part of the editorial collective of Public Culture. I serve on the editorial advisory boards of Design and Culture, New Technology, Work, and Employment, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. My research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Fellowship, Open Society Foundation, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and NSF Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems Program. I have a Ph.D. in Informatics (Feminist Emphasis) from UC Irvine, an M.S. and B.S. Computer Science (Human-Computer Interaction) from Stanford University.