I’m an anthropologist who studies how people use technology to make sense of culture.
I’m writing a book about the makers of music recommender systems and how they think, about music, listeners, and listening. Computing Taste: The Making of Algorithmic Music Recommendation draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork with researchers, engineers, and others in industry and academia. It covers topics ranging from the cybernetic origins of the overloaded subject to the geography of similarity spaces to the trap-like design of algorithmic systems. It is under contract with the University of Chicago Press and will be done eventually!
I’m currently thinking about why we measure attention in units of time, the relationship between care and scale, kinship metaphors for academic disciplines, and why computer programmers love rock climbing so much.
I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Tufts University, where I also teach in the Science, Technology, and Society program. Before that, I got my undergraduate degree in Literature at Yale University, a Masters of Science in Comparative Media Studies from MIT, and my PhD in Anthropology from UC Irvine.
You may be interested in the syllabus for my seminar, “How to Pay Attention,” in my article on the ethnography of algorithmic systems, or in the history of player pianos. If you’re a current or former student seeking a recommendation letter, you’ll want to go here.