Phoebe Sengers

Associate Professor
Information Science /
Science & Technology Studies
Cornell University

I am a faculty member in Information Science and Science & Technology Studies at Cornell, where I lead the Culturally Embedded Computing group. I am a member of the field of Computer Science and am affiliated with Visual Studies and Art.


I am a computer scientist and a cultural theorist, working primarily in Human-Computer Interaction and cultural studies of technology. I develop culturally embedded systems; i.e., new kinds of interactive technology that respond to and encourage critical reflection on the place of technology in culture. Specifically, I analyze IT in the context of North American consumer culture and the rise of efficiency, productivity, and faith in technoscience as hegemonic cultural values. I use insights from cultural analysis of IT to identify and rethink the assumptions underlying technologies, to build new applications for computing, and to develop new techniques for designing and evaluating technologies.

A major component of my current work is a long-term design-ethnographic and historical study of sociotechnological change in the small, traditional fishing community of Change Islands, Newfoundland, looking at how changing sociotechnical infrastructures are tied with changing orientations to time, technology, and labor.


Before I came to Cornell in 2001, I worked at the Media Arts Research Studies group at the German National Computer Science Research Center (GMD) in Bonn, Germany and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 1998, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a self-defined interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence and Cultural Theory (administered jointly by the Department of Computer Science and the Program in Literary and Cultural Theory).