Michaelanne Thomas

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information where I run the Anthropology and Technology Lab (ATL). 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

[June 2022] I was awarded the Elizabeth C. Crosby Research Award to support new fieldwork in Flint, MI, exploring information technology use and collaborative resistance alongside Latinx communities there.

[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

[Feb 2020] I participated in the Computing Research Association (CRA) Career Mentoring Workshop.

[Jan 2020] 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.

[Jan 2020] I joined the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC) at the University of Michigan as an affiliate faculty member.

[Dec 2019] I joined the Digital Studies Institute (DSI) at the University of Michigan as an affiliate faculty member.

[Nov 2019] 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.

[Nov 2019] I presented my work at the Politics and Design of Collaboration: A Grassroots Perspective workshop at CSCW 2019.

[Sept 2019] 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.

View archived news items here.