Christopher Kelty

Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment at ISG and in the department of Information Studies. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering.  He is the author of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

He is trained in science studies (history and anthropology) and has also written about methodological issues facing anthropology today.

Current projects include:

  • an ethnographic study of research in nanotechnology, which focuses on new formulations of responsibility in the study of the environmental and biological implications of new materials.
  • an ongoing historical/media theoretical investigation of the development of computer science, and in particular the development of “logical instruments” such as regular expressions and l-systems.
  • a project on the history of “grey literature” in the life sciences, in particular newsletters and forms of cooperation/coordination around model organisms like the Drosophila Information Service
  • sporadic attempts to help facilitate “radical public engagement” in science through exploring how the ideas of Free and Open Source software are taken up in biology, nanotechnology and design.



Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Kelty’s personal website
Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software
Research Project: Testing Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing


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