I am an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and an affiliated faculty member in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, San Diego. I work at the intersection of anthropology, science and technology studies, and design, and my scholarship focuses on relations between technoscience, idealism, morality, and politics. Having worked as both an ethnographer and a designer, I am also interested in how ethnography and design can and do play a role in making and shaping publics. In that vein, I am a founding member of both the Studio for Ethnographic Design at UCSD and the University of California Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design.
My first solo-authored book, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism (Princeton 2017), explores the processes by which optimism for the philanthropic possibilities of new media technologies is repeatedly regenerated even though actual interventions routinely fall short of hoped-for outcomes. The book also examines what this resilient techno-idealism manages to accomplish even as a given project or movement is largely unable to realize the good intentions of those involved.
Prior to graduate school I worked in the field of user experience design, primarily for large not-for-profit organizations and in collaboration with the design consultancy Tellart. I received a B.A. from Bowdoin College in 2000 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information in 2012.