Quality since 1972

Christopher M. Kelty, Professor
Institute for Society and Genetics, Department of Anthropology and Department of Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

mailing address:
The UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics,
Box 957221, 3360 LSB, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7221, Campus Mailcode: 722105
(T) 310-267-4990, (F) 310-206-1880

Bio and CV

CV: 2018

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; and more recently, the role that wild animals play in contemporary urban Los Angeles.

Christopher Kelty has written two books: The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories (Chicago, 2019); and Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008). He has written 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, hackers and hacking, and many other inadvisably diverse topics.

Current projects include:

Here are photos of him, if you need to know what he looks like:



Christopher M. Kelty, The Participant: A Century of Participation in Four Stories, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019

Christopher M. Kelty Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software and the Internet Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.


Kelty, Christopher M. (2019a). “Every Era Gets the Internet it Deserves (or, the Phases of Hacking)”. In: Exotic No More, 2nd Edition. Ed. by Jeremy MacClancy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (website).

Kelty, Christopher M. (2018a). “Bogeyman”. In: Cultural Anthropology (website). Ed. by Dominic Boyer and Cymene Howe. (link).

Kelty, Christopher M. (2018b). “Hacking the Social?” In: Inventing the Social . Ed. by Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim, and Alex Wilkie. Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, pp. 287–297. (website).

Kelty, Christopher M. (2018c). “Recursive Publics and Open Access”. In: Guerilla Open Access . Ed. by Memory of the World. Birmingham: Post Office Press, Rope Press. (link)

Kelty, Christopher M. (2018d). “Robot Life: Simulation and Participation in the Study of Evolution and Social Behavior”. In: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40.1, p. 16. DOI: 10.1007/s40656-017-0181-y. (link).

Kelty, Christopher and Seth Erickson (2018). “Two Modes of Participation: a Conceptual Analysis of 102 Cases of Internet and Social Media Participation From 2005-2015”. In: The Information Society 34.2, pp. 71–87. (link).

Landecker, Hannah and Christopher Kelty (2018). “Outside In: Microbiomes, Epigenomes, Visceral Sensing, and Metabolic Ethics”. In: After Practice Thinking through Matter(s) and Meaning Relationally. Ed. by Laboratory: Anthropology of Environment/Human Relations. Vol. 1. Berlin: Panama Verlag, pp. 53–65. (website)

Kelty, Christopher M. (2017a). “Evil Infrastructures, Introduction”. In: Cultural Anthropology , series: Theorizing the Contemporary. Ed. by Christopher M. Kelty, online. (link).

Kelty, Christopher M. (2017b). “Liberty and Lock-in: The trouble with freedom in anthropology”. In: Freedom in practice : governance, autonomy and liberty in the everyday . Ed. by Moises Silva and Huon Wardle. London: Routledge, pp. 164–186. ( website).

Kelty, Christopher M. (2017c). “Preface”. In: Limn Number 8: Hacks, Leaks, and Breaches . Ed. by E. Gabriella Coleman and Christopher M. Kelty. Los Angeles: Limn. link.

Kelty, Christopher M. (2017d). “The Participatory Development Toolkit”. In: Limn Number Nine: Little Development Devices and Humanitarian Goods. Ed. by Stephen J. Collier et al. link.

Kelty, Christopher M. (2017f). “Too Much Democracy in All the Wrong Places: Toward a Grammar of Participation”. In: Current Anthropology 58.S15, S77–S90. link.

Murillo, Luis Felipe R and Christopher M. Kelty (2017a). “Hacker und Hacken”. In: Digitalisierung: Theorien und Konzepte für die empirische Kulturforschung . Ed. by Gertraud Koch. Munich: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft Konstanz, pp. 127–156. TRANSLATION: Murillo, Luis Felipe R and Christopher M. Kelty (2017b). “Hackers and hacking”. In: Digitisation: Theories and Concepts for Empirical Cultural Research. Ed. by Gertraud Koch. New York;London: Routledge, pp. 95–116.

Kelty, Christopher (2016). “Participation”. In: Digital Keywords. Ed. by Benjamin Peters. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 227–241. (pdf)

Kelty, Christopher M (2016). “Robots Behaving Badly: Animation and Participation in the Study of Life”. In: Research Objects in their Technological Setting. Ed. by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent et al. History and Philosophy of Technoscience. Routledge. (draft).

Andersson Schwarz, Jonas et al. (2015). “Piracy and social change: Roundtable discussion”. In: Popular Communication 13.1, pp. 87–99.

Kelty, Christopher M. (2015). “45 3c 2a a5 d4 31 40 00 40 fd 47 8b 32 74 05 05 51 13 91 26 (preface)”. In: The Politics of Micro-Decisions: Edward Snowden, Net Neutrality, and the Architectures of the Internet. by Florian Sprenger. Lüneburg, Germany: meson press.

Kelty, Christopher (2014a). “Beyond Copyright and Technology: What Open Access Can Tell Us about Precarity, Authority, Innovation, and Automation in the University Today”. In: Cultural Anthropology 29.2, pp. 203–215.

Kelty, Christopher, Aaron Panofsky, et al. (2014). “Seven dimensions of contemporary participation disentangled”. In: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(3):474-488. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23202. (pdf)

Kelty, C.M. and Seth Erickson (2015). "The Durability of Software" in I. Kaldrack and M. Leeker There is no Software, there are only Services, Lüneburg, Germany: Meson Press.

Kelty, C. (2014). "The Fog of Freedom". In Gillespie, T., Foot, K., and Boczkowski, P., editors, Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Currie, M., Kelty, C., and Murillo, L. F. R. (2013). "Free software trajectories: From organized publics to formal social enterprises?" Journal of Peer Production, 1(3).

Kelty, C. M. (2013b). "There is no free software." Journal of Peer Production, 1(3).

Kelty, C. (2012b). From participation to power. In Delwiche, A. and Henderson, J., editors, The Participatory Cultures Handbook. Routledge, New York and London.

Kelty, Christopher M. (2012). "This is not an article: Model organism newsletters and the question of 'open science.'" Biosocieties 7(2):140-168. (pdf)

Fish, A., Murillo, L. F. R., Nguyen, L., Panofsky, A. & Kelty, C. M. (2011). Birds of the Internet: Towards a field guide to the organization and governance of participation. Journal of Cultural Economy, 4(2), 157-187. doi:10.1080/17530350.2011.563069. [PDF]

Christopher M. Kelty "Afterword:: Recompiling," Criticism 53(3):471-480, Summer 2011 (Edited by Antonio Cerasa and Jeff Pruchnic).

Christopher M. Kelty “Logical Instruments: Regular Expressions, Artificial Intelligence, and Thinking about thinking,” in The Search for a Theory of Cognition: Early Mechanisms and New Ideas, ed. Stefano Franchi and Francesco Bianchini, Amsterdam, New York:Rodopi Publishers, (2011).

Christopher M. Kelty “Introduction: Culture In, Culture Out,” Anthropological Quarterly 83, no. 1 (2010): 7-16.

Christopher M. Kelty “Geeks, Internets, and Recursive Publics,” Cultural Anthropology 20, no. 2 (Summer 2005). DOI 10.1525/can.2005.20.2.185

Christopher M. Kelty “Inventing Copyleft,” in Contexts of Invention, ed. Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, and Martha Woodmansee, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2010.

Cafer Yavuz et al., “Pollution magnet: nano-magnetite for arsenic removal from drinking water,” Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 32(4):327-334, Auguest, 2010.

Elise McCarthy and Christopher M. Kelty, “Responsibility and nanotechnology,” Social Studies of Science 40, no. 3 (June 1, 2010): 405-432. DOI: 10.1177/0306312709351762

Kelty, Christopher M. "Responsibility: McKeon and Ricoeur," ARC Working Paper #12, May 2008.

M. Lounsbury et al., “Towards Open Source Nano: Arsenic Removal and Alternative Models of Technology Transfer,” JAI Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Growth 19 (2009): 51-78. DOI: 10.1108/S1048-4736(2009)0000019003

Christopher M. Kelty “Beyond Implications and Applications: the Story of ‘Safety by Design’,” NanoEthics 3, no. 2 (2009): 79-96. DOI 10.1007/s11569-009-0066-y

Hannah Landecker and Christopher M. Kelty “Ten Thousand Journal Articles Later: Ethnography of “The Literature” in Science,” Empira: Revista de Metodologia de Ciencias Sociales, no. 18 (December 2009): 173-191.

Christopher M. Kelty “Conceiving Open Systems,” Journal of Law & Policy 30 (2009): 139.

Christopher M. Kelty Allotropes of Fieldwork in Nanotechnology (2008). In Emerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in Bionanotechnology, p. 157-180. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8649-6_10.

C. M. Kelty, C. S Burrus, and R. G Baraniuk, “Peer Review Anew: Three Principles and a Case Study in Postpublication Quality Assurance,” Proceedings of the IEEE 96 (2008): 1000-1011. DOI 10.1109/JPROC.2008.921613

Christopher M. Kelty “Anthropology in/of Circulation: a discussion,” Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 3 (2008). 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2008.00018.x

Christopher M. Kelty “Collaboration, Coordination and Composition: Fieldwork after the Internet,” in Fieldwork isn't what it used to be, ed. James Faubion and George Marcus (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008).

Christopher M. Kelty The Ethics and Politics of Nanotechnology (Paris: UNESCO, 2006).

Christopher M. Kelty "Free Science" in Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software ed. Feller MIT Press 2005.

Christopher M. Kelty "Trust Among the Algorithms" in CODE: Collaborative Ownership in the Digital Economy ed. Rishab Ayer Ghosh MIT Press 2005.

Christopher M. Kelty "Culture's Open Sources" and "Punt to Culture" in Anthropological Quarterly 77(3) Summer 2004. (licensed under a Creative Commons License by AQ)

Hannah Landecker and Christopher M. Kelty "A Theory of Animation: Cells, Film and L-Systems" Grey Room Vol. 17 Fall 2004.

Christopher M. Kelty Free Software/Free Science, First Monday,December 2001.

Book Reviews

Christopher M. Kelty "58 Ways of Looking at a Blackberry" (Review of Marshall T. Poe, A History of Communications: Media and Society from the Evolution of Speech to the Internet Cambridge University Press, 2011), Science Vol 332: 307-308, April 15,2011.

Christopher M. Kelty "Steal This Review! (Review of Adrian John's Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates)" Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences vol. 41 no. 2 (2011): 255-264.

Christopher M Kelty“Ethnography as Commentary: Writing from the Virtual Archive by Johannes FabianMemory against Culture: Arguments and Reminders by Johannes Fabian,American Anthropologist 111, no. 4 (2009): 523-525.

Christopher M. Kelty, “This Is Not Your Mother’s Samoa (Boellstorff's Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human),” Current Anthropology 50, no. 3 (June 1, 2009): 403-404.

Christopher M Kelty, “Explaining IT: Global "Body Shopping": An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry by Biao Xiang and Virtual Migration: The Programming of Globalization by A. Aneesh,PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 32, no. 1 (2009): 156-160.

Christopher M Kelty, “Coding for Meaning (Review of K. Hayles "My Mother was a Computer"),” MetaScience 15, no. 3 (2006): 535-538.

Christopher M Kelty, “Verb Awry: avant-garde beat poet found trapped in ruins of digital economy (Review of A. Kroker "The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism"),” Anthropology and Humanism December (2005).


Christopher M. Kelty, “Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing public participation in the life sciences today,” Journal of Science Communication (JCOM) 9, no. 1 (2010): C03.

P Kerim Friedman, Alex Golub, and Christopher Kelty, “Three Years of Savage Minds: From Blog to Scholarly Civil Society,Anthropology News 49, no. 3 (2008): 22-22.

Christopher Kelty, “The State of Open Access Anthropology,Anthropology News 49, no. 2 (2008): 9-10.

Christopher Kelty and George Marcus, “Open Source Experiments and What They Show About the Analyst's Frustrations in Intelligence Communities,Anthropology News, (February 2007).

Christopher Kelty, “Understanding Nanotechnology Anthropologically,Anthropology News 46, no. 1 (2005): 27-27.

Christopher M Kelty, “Anthropology and the Open Access Debate,” Anthropology News 45, no. 11 (November 2004): 14.


Christopher M. Kelty, "What is the Internet that Anthropology may know it and Anthropology, that it may know the Internet?" (Presented at the American Anthropological Association Meetings 2015, Denver, CO: Panel: The Internet and Anthropology: Ten Years of Savage Minds, Organized by Alex Golub and Savage Minds).

Christopher M. Kelty, "Analog liberalism, vita activa, and the society of extras" (Presented at the American Anthropological Association Meetings 2010, New Orleans, LA; Panel: "Digital Liberalisms" convened by Gabriella Coleman and Dominic Boyer).

Christopher M. Kelty, “Don't Be Evil,” (presented at the American Anthropological Association 2008, San Francisco, Calif).

Christopher M. Kelty, "Geeks and Recursive Publics: How the Internet and Free Software Make Things Public" unpublished version of book chapter, 2008.

Christopher M. Kelty "Towards an Anthropology of Deliberation" presented at the Society for Social Studies of Science, 2008, Montreal Canada.

Christopher Kelty, “Against Networks” (written 2006)

Christopher M. Kelty "Universal Internets: Hubs and Routers of Encounters across Difference" Presented on a panel discussion of Anna Tsing's Friction at the American Anthropological Association, November 2006.

Christopher M. Kelty "Against Networks: An Ethology of Nonhuman Humans" presented at the Society for Social Studies of Science 2005, Pasadena, CA.

Christopher M. Kelty, "The Scale of Gifts: Free Software and The Theories of Gift Exchange" unpublished manuscript, 2005

Christopher M. Kelty, "Qualitative Research in the Age of the Algorithm," RLG conference, Boston, May 2003

Christopher M. Kelty, "Hau to do things with words," (doc | pdf)

Creative Commons License

Christopher M. Kelty "Scale, Or the fact thereof" presented at the conference "Travelling Facts," Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2000.

Christopher M. Kelty. 1999. "Life is a series of Tests, some just count more." Siegel Prize Winning Essay, Program in Science, Technology and Society, 1999.

Selected Classes

The Anthropology of Experts and Expertise (2016)

Bio/Data: Social and Political Consequences of Big Data in Biology and Medicine, co-taught with Emmanuel Didier (2015)

History of Modern Thought (GE Cluster Course 21ABC) (2013 | 2014)

Ways of Knowing in the Life and Human Sciences (2012)

The Political Economy of Information, ``Participation'' (2012)

Good, Bad and Ugly Evolution, co-taught with Michael Alfaro

Introduction to Anthropological Fieldwork for Information Studies (2010)

Current Directions in the Social and Historical Study of Science and Technology (w/ Norton Wise) (2010:pdf|2008:pdf|2009:html)

Introduction to Openness (2008)

History of Software and Networks (2007)

Public Spheres and Public Cultures (2007)

Fieldwork (2006|2002)

Introduction to the Anthropology of Information and Networks (2006|2005|2002|2001)

Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (2006:html|2004:html|2003:html|2001:pdf

Abracadabra (2003:html|2002:pdf|2002:html)

Can Humans Think? (2002:pdf|2002:html)