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Director

Michaelanne Thomas is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Her work draws on 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.

Ph.D. Students

Sylvia Darling is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. She researches migration, gender, and digital tech with the intent to devise sociotechnical strategies that support migrants’ survival and human dignity as they cross borders. An ethnographer by training, she uses participant observation and in-depth interviews to convey the experiences of communities in Latin America and the United States impacted by transnational injustice.

S. Tonsing is a doctoral student at the School of Information, University of Michigan. He completed his M.Phil. in Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. Pieces of his M.Phil. dissertation appear in Discourse & Communication journal and as a forthcoming book chapter under Routledge publication. He completed his Master’s in Sociology at the North Eastern Hill University, India. His article “Baudrillard’s simulacra and death of solidarity” in RePLITO contributes to reshaping the marginalised understanding of solidarity in the age of social media. He also worked as an assistant professor at Rayburn College, Manipur University, and Sakus Mission College, Nagaland University, both in the department of sociology.

Hibby Thach is an incoming PhD student at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, studying identity, content moderation, and digital cultures. They currently do work along two research tracks: (1) equitable content moderation for marginalized online communities and (2) designing trans technologies in gaming. Central to their work is the idea of multiplicity, or the acknowledgement of multiple simultaneous experiences and narratives for those with complex identities. Employing digital ethnographic and interview methods alongside intersectional frameworks, they hope to illuminate the faults of dominant narratives and research that leave out the most marginalized. Embodying their own lived experiences as a queer non-binary Vietnamese mixed neurodivergent person, their work considers positionality and bias at every step of the research process.

Ben Zefeng Zhang is a second-year Ph.D. student at UMSI. He is interested in migration, identity, Social computing, science and technology studies (STS), and ICTD (Information Communication Technologies & Development). He received his M.S. in Applied Data Science from Syracuse University School of Information Studies. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a journalist. He enjoys biking, running, swimming, climbing, and diving.

Masters Students

Alexis Herrera is a researcher and programmer currently pursuing a masters in information and science and technology studies. He is interested in race, infrastructure, and media studies. He holds a BA in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Advisors to the Lab

David Nemer is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. His research and teaching interests cover the intersection of Anthropology of Technology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Information Anthropology, ICT for Development (ICT4D), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). He is an ethnographer with fieldwork experience in Havana, Cuba, Guadalajara, Mexico, the favelas of Vitória, Brazil, and in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky. David Nemer is the author of Technology of the Oppressed: Inequity and the Digital Mundane in Favelas of Brazil (2022, MIT Press) and Favela Digital: The other side of technology (2013, GSA).

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