Mary Murrell is a cultural anthropologist and independent scholar/researcher whose work concerns the intersections of technology and knowledge making.
I am currently an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I am working on a book entitled The Open Book: An Anthropologist in the Digital Library. The book began as field research I conducted as a doctoral student from 2008-2011 and primarily at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, CA. Tracing the emergence, practices, and productive effects of mass book digitization, The Open Book explores the efforts of digital librarians and others to bring print books into the future. I allow their work, as well as the legal and political contentions around mass digitization, to bring “the book” into view as an extended social infrastructure.
In a somewhat different direction, I have a deepening interest in birds and their ecologies. In season, I participate in citizen science projects that collect observations from individuals about bird location and breeding activity in Wisconsin. Within these projects, I am following the social relationships among citizens, birds, governments, and scientists, and how they are captured and translated through “big data.”
I received my Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. My dissertation research received support from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew H. Mellon Foundation, and the University of California.
In 2014 I completed a two-year Andrew H. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
My teaching — at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison — has focused on the anthropology of media/new media and science and technology studies.
Before pursuing my Ph.D., I worked in scholarly publishing for 15 years, most of them as an acquisitions editor, in the humanities and social sciences, at Princeton University Press. I continue to be involved in publishing in a variety of capacities. In addition to serving on the University of Wisconsin Press’s Editorial Committee, I serve on the Advisory Boards of the digital publishing platform Project Muse and the open access publishing cooperative Libraria. I also serve, upon request, as a publishing consultant to the newly open access American Anthropological Association journal Cultural Anthropology.
I also occasionally do freelance editorial work from time to time, if I believe I can help an author or publisher reach a specific and clear goal.
You can find out more about my past, present, and near future on my c.v. page.
[Last updated April 2017]