Michaelanne Thomas

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. As a sociocultural anthropologist, my work incorporates the fields of Anthropology, CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work), and ICTD (Information Communication Technologies & Development) to study how people collaboratively design, access, and participate with internet technologies in constrained contexts.

Specifically, I study: (1) internet access in resource-constrained regions; (2) the design of citizen-led information systems; and (3) social media use for social change. Currently, I am investigating the ways people collaboratively innovate and make do amidst constraint and ongoing crises and the sociotechnical systems that emerge in these contexts.

In addition to the above, I’m also broadly interested in sociotechnical infrastructures, feminist theories, and science and technology studies (STS).

Read more about me here.

RECENT NEWS

[Oct 2021] I presented my paper, “The Relational Infrastructure of Cuban Splinternets” at the Annual Meeting for the Society of the Social Studies of Science (4S).

[Jan 2020] – My paper, Un Grano de Arena: Infrastructural Care, Social Media, and the Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis was published in CSCW.

[Apr 2020] – My workshop paper, Internet-human infrastructures: Lessons from Havana’s StreetNet, with Abigail Z. Jacobs was nominated as a best paper at The Web Conf Workshop on Innovative Ideas in Data Science

2.24.20 – I participated in the Computing Research Association (CRA) Career Mentoring Workshop.

1.24.20 – I was an invited panelist at the launch event for the new Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC), led by Christian Sandvig and Silvia Lindtner.

1.23.20 – I joined the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC) at the University of Michigan as an affiliate faculty member.

12.4.19 – I joined the Digital Studies Institute (DSI) at the University of Michigan as an affiliate faculty member.

11.12.19 – I presented my paper, “If it Rains, Ask Grandma to Disconnect the Nano: Maintenance & Care in Havana’s StreetNet” at CSCW 2019 in Austin, TX.

11.10.19 – I submitted to and attended the Politics and Design of Collaboration: A Grassroots Perspective workshop at CSCW 2019.

9.30.19 – My paper, “If it Rains, Ask Grandma to Disconnect the Nano: Maintenance & Care in Havana’s StreetNet”, received a Best Paper Honorable Mention at CSCW 2019.

8.1.19 – I started my new position as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow/Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

6.18.19 – I became a member of the 2019 cohort of the Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems (CSST) Researchers.

6.8.19 – I successfully defended my dissertation, Vamos a Resolver: Collaboratively Configuring the Internet in Havana.

View archived news items here.