Hackers / Hacktivism / Radical Engineers / Hackerspaces / Makerspaces
Hackers and hacker culture caught my interest during undergrad research. First, software engineers appeared interesting as ‘epistemological others’ who could actually assemble and take apart hardware/software, instead of writing media studies research papers about them. Second, it was an exploration of the digital infrastructures, online subcultures and practices of sharing that I had myself grown up in, but also seemingly matured out of. Though I don’t follow it actively at the moment, I am still interested in hacker politics outside of Europe and the US, especially in authoritarian contexts such as Turkey. Following Chris Kelty, I find the figure of the hacker helpful for questions of how to creatively intervene in ‘the social’, a world held together with duct-tape and filled with abandoned infrastructure to play with.
Open Wireless Network Activism / Citizen Networks / Community Networks / Advocacy
A global movement for open infrastructure that – in its German manifestations – was at the center of my ethnographic research as an undergrad. A form of ‘subversive’ or ‘tactical media’ that at times feels a little dated, tied to the digital landscape and controversies of the early and late 2000s (pirate parties in Europe, copyfights, mass surveillance, Occupy). Interestingly, it still draws attention from policy makers and governments for its participatory thrust. I have published in this area and presented my research at several community events/hacker conferences, which led to ongoing collaborations and advocacy in Kim Fortun’s sense. Probably also a good example of how infrastructures get re-invented, but at least in the German context, an increasingly ‘domesticated’ form of hacker culture. I guess this is also what I am still interested in – how decentralized sociotechnical initiatives come to engage with civic actors and local governments.
Critical Migration Studies / Ethnographic analysis of border regimes / Refugee Crisis / Autonomy of Migration
My studies in Istanbul and the migration movements of 2015 and 2016 had an incredibly politicizing effect on me. In contrast to the familiar territories of hacking and computing, research on the asylum and border apparatus seemed much more difficult to navigate ethically. The rapid popularity of the topic among all kinds of researchers also made critical scholars in the field more self-conscious in their commitments. My engagement has been very personal because of various friendships and I am still more like a bystander in activist/scholarly debates on open borders. I still try to read as much as I can from the more radical literature that is published, partly to hold myself accountable when it comes to issues of citizenship, race, labor, and extreme right politics. I also feel connected to the central concepts in the area, such as ‘border regime’ or ‘autonomy of migration’, which helped me to better understand assemblage thinking and the politics purchase of which concepts to use. The literature comes mostly from Europe and the US.
(Reflexive) Humanitarianism / Humanitarian Logistics / Disaster Infrastructure
I am interested in humanitarianism as a zone where geopolitical, biopolitical and cosmopolitical vectors meet. I am curious what other role than the designated ‘culture slot’ anthropologists can take here, developing potentially reflexive forms of humanitarianism. The research I follow comes mostly out of Berlin.
More-Than-Social-Movements / alterontologies / ontological politics
A conceptual contact zone that combines my interest in migration and hacking, developed by STS scholar Dimitris Papadopoulos. In his reading, hackers and migrants each have their own ways of mobilizing below the radar of institutional politics and continue change their conditions of existence through their practices. Interesting questions about inclusion (of people and matter) and its decolonial future are raised here. Links up to thinking about other ‘alterontological’ movements like HIV patient groups or brain research.
Infrastructure Studies / Knowledge Infrastructures
My prior research has been highly influenced by writing on infrastructures, mostly the Star/Bowker (infrastructures as relation/ecology of practice/process of infrastructuring) kind of stuff. Now the term has proliferated so much that I find I often find it difficult to work with. The work on infrastructuring as an ongoing process is still interesting to me, especially because it highlights how studies of infrastructure depend on collaboration/co-laboration.
Co-Laboration / phenomenography / collaboration 3.0
Again concepts I initially learned from scholars in Berlin scholars but developed from George Marcus' take on paraethnography. Both the notion of phenomenography and co-laboration (sic) are influenced by Fleck’s writing on thought collectives and the role of anthropology when engaging with other disciplines. For Jörg Niewöhner, who coined the term, co-laboration means working alongside other disciplines, rather than on one shared object. The idea is that insights in the co-laborative process can be taken back to enrich anthropology as a discipline.
Postcolonial STS / Postcolonial computing
Bioeconomies / Biocapital / Governmentality / Global Health
Ever since I took a class on bioeconomies, I am fascinated, but similarly to naturecultures, it does not readily relate to my prior research. Research on stem cells, cryonics, engineered mosquitoes etc. is totally exciting and I keep reading whenever I can.
STS in Turkey
rural subjectivities, specifically in the U.S.
human-environment interactions, specifically involving phenomenological approaches/attention to sensory perception and aesthetics
narrative narrative narrative
how/when/where certain kinds of knowledge come to be authoritative--and how/when/where/why certain kinds of knowledge are NOT authoritative in some settings when they are in broader society (i.e. hegemonic discourses and knowledge discounted in certain settings/milieus)--an easy example of this is if one were to conduct research on anti-vaxxers and really try to understand their interpretation of why conventional science shouldn’t be trusted, though I’m not necessarily interested in vaccinations/anti-vaxxers specifically
temporal orientations; how people reconcile contrasting temporal scales, e.g. that of human experience and of geologic/climate changes, or how conceptualized time scales shape someone’s experience of the prospect of something like “abrupt climate change”
experience (sensory, what something FEELS like, and the narratives/discourse through which people interpret their experience and others’ experience)
practice, performativity, embodiment...the politics of these things, but also the poetics
striving to understand the logics of those whose points of view we (academics, politically “liberal”/”left”, etc.) may consider undesirable or wrong--by what logics do they come to their own understandings of the world or interpretations of an idea, phenomena, thing.
education, both formal and informal--how/when/where do people learn? (very broadly speaking, not just book knowledge, also body knowledge), how can we teach more effectively? what is it that we actually want to/need to teach? what kinds of knowledge could we benefit from acknowledging?