Public lecture at Wesleyan University: What do mobile phones mobilize?

I’m giving a talk next week, Monday Oct. 13, for a weekly public lecture series at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities on the theme of mobilities. My talk looks at forms of mobility and selfhood that inform mobile phone design and use in Berlin:

What Do Mobile Phones Mobilize?

In what sense are mobile phones, and related devices, mobile? Mobile phones, and mobile computing generally, facilitate particular kinds of mobility—especially elite, cosmopolitan, voluntary forms of movement and circulation—due in no small part to their user interface design. But what counts as movement, culturally speaking? How are mobile devices mobile in relation to the body? When are they characterized instead by locatability, for example, in relation to location-based services? This talk takes up these questions to consider how circles of friends in Berlin interact with the interface design of mobile technologies, especially smartphones, which expect a singular, indivisible subject as the user. Everyday mobile phone practices often challenge implicit norms built in to mobile devices, with implications for sociality, mobility, and experiences of urban space.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014  |  6 P.M.

announcing my new postdoc position (+ AAA panel in December)

I’m very pleased to announce that I’m joining the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University this year as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. This year’s theme is Mobilities, and I’ll be continuing my work on constructions of mobility and sociality in social and mobile media. I’ll be giving a public lecture on my research in October (details TBA).

In addition, Angela VandenBroek and I have co-organized an invited session for the annual American Anthropological Association (AAA) meetings in December, in D.C., on technology, design, and inequality (Accidentally by Design: Producing Difference and Inequality Through Technological Designs). The session is being sponsored by CASTAC, through the General Anthropology Division.

Ethics of User Experience Research: What anthropology can tell us about Facebook’s controversial study

Ethics of User Experience Research: What anthropology can tell us about Facebook’s controversial study. Where is the line between industry user research and academic human subjects research? And what rights do—or should—users have over how their (our) data is used? As user research becomes an established part of technology design, questions of research ethics become even more pressing. Read more on the CASTAC Blog.


Welcome to my website! I’m an anthropologist and ethnographer studying media, technology, and place, especially mobile and social communications in European and transnational contexts. Find out more about my work and my background on the biography page, read about my current and upcoming research projects (soon to be updated), check out my CV, or take a look at some of my recent writings and publications. You can reach me at Thanks for dropping by!