Christopher Kelty


(310) 267-4775

Life Sciences Building 3318








Christopher Kelty is professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Institute for Society and Genetics, and the department of Anthropology and department of Information Studies. He received a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program in Science, Technology and Society (now HASTS) in 2000, for a dissertation on the impact of the internet on healthcare organizations.  Since then he has written on a range of topics at the intersection of technology and social/political theory.  He wrote one of the first in-depth studies of free and open source software production and its relation to the public sphere (Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software, Duke University Press, 2008), and several articles about the nature of freedom and internet-based technologies and their relationship to concepts and practices of openness in liberal democracies.  He has written about the nature or responsibility in engineering design, especially in the field of nanotechnology. He has published extensively on the problem of participation in new internet and social media platforms, and has written an historical ethnography about the concept and practice of participation (The Participant, University of Chicago Press, 2019). He has researched and written occasionally about hackers, pirates, activists, libertarians, trans-humanists and other creatures who inhabit the political landscape of technological innovation.  More recently he has extended his interests to include non-human animals.  As the head of the Labyrinth Project Kelty has been conducting fieldwork with pest-control professionals, wildlife managers, biologists and veterinarians in Los Angeles on questions related to cats, coyotes, arbitrariness, rats, wetlands, domestication, grass, poison, concrete, relocation, raccoons, working class politics, mountain lions,  and also Satan.

Outside of academic work, Kelty has been a long-time activist for open access publications and open access policies for academic control of publication rights and processes, including by leading the passage one of the first open access policies for the entire ten-campus University of California system.   He co-created (with Stephen Collier and Andrew Lakoff) the scholar-led, innovative scholarly magazine Limn and he was a founding member of the Libraria collective which continues to fight for scholar control of publishing practices in Anthropology, science studies and related disciplines.


Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Kelty’s personal website