Mary Murrell is a cultural anthropologist whose work centers around the intersections of technology and knowledge making.
I am a Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I sit on the University of Wisconsin Press’s Editorial Press Committee as well as the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Arboretum.
I am completing a book entitled The Open Book: An Anthropologist in the Digital Library. The Open Book is based on fieldwork I did from 2008-2011 primarily at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, CA — a non-profit digital library involved in the mass digitization of books and related advocacy. Tracing the emergence, practices, and productive effects of mass book digitization, I allow the activities and efforts of digital librarians to bring “the book” into view macroscopically–that is, as an extended social infrastructure that is in the midst of an uncertain and halting re-materialization from print to digital.
I am newly engaged by the relationship between “nature” and the “public.” Following citizen science projects that collect observations from individuals about bird location and breeding activity in Wisconsin, I am interested in the relationships between individuals, birds, and scientists, especially as made concrete in “big data.”
I received my Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. My research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew H. Mellon Foundation, and the University of California.
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.
In 2014 I completed a two-year Andrew H. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Before pursuing my Ph.D., I worked for many years as an acquisitions editor, in anthropology and other fields, 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 am 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 November 2016]