Mary Murrell is a cultural anthropologist and independent scholar/researcher whose work, based in the United States, centers around the intersections of technology and knowledge making.

I am an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I am writing a book entitled The Open Book: An Anthropologist in the Digital Library, which began as field research I did from 2008-2011, primarily at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, CA. Tracing the emergence, practices, and productive effects of mass book digitization, I allow the efforts of digital librarians and others to bring “the book” into view macroscopically–that is, as an extended social infrastructure in the midst of an uncertain and halting re-materialization from print to digital.

In a different direction, I have a deepening interest in birds and their ecologies. In season, I have been participating in citizen science projects that collect observations from individuals about bird location and breeding activity in Wisconsin. I am contemplating the pursuit of a formal research project focused on the social relationships among individuals, birds, conservationists, governments, and scientists, especially as made concrete 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 17 years, most of them as an acquisitions editor, in the humanities and social sciences, at Princeton University Press. I continue to be involving in scholarly 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.

You can find out more about my past, present, and near future on my c.v. page.

[Last updated March 2017]