Christopher Kelty


(310) 267-4775

Life Sciences Building 3318

Christopher M. Kelty is professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has appointments in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. Research interests center on social theory and technology, the cultural significance of information technology; the relationship of participation, technology and the public sphere;

He is the author of the book 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; participation as a political concept, open access in the academy, piracy, the history of software, and many other inadvisably diverse topics available on the Publications page.

Current projects include:

  • An NSF-funded research project on Participation. We compare cases of mediated participation in multiple domains (from free software to citizen journalism to science and engineering to culture and art).
  • Ongoing research on aspects of “openness” in science, ranging from issues of open access to scholarly publications to piracy to openness and closure in scientific research both today, and in the past.
  • A variety of projects at the intersection of life science and technology, including historical investigations of software in life science (L-Systems, regular expressions), the use of evolutionary models to study technology, and and other ways of making theories come alive in the study of life.
  • a scholarly magazine called Limn.


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