Prof. Dr. Lilly Irani

Broadly, my research investigates the cultural politics of high-tech work practices with a focus on how actors produce “innovation” cultures. I work on these questions through two sites: entrepreneurial development efforts in India and the Amazon data processing outsourcing site Mechanical Turk. I am writing a book provisionally titled Entrepreneurial Citizenship: Innovators and their Others in Indian Development. I also sometimes collaboratively design, build, and maintain software (Turkopticon, Dynamo) as a means of understanding digitally mediated forms of work and their relationship to technological forms.

My work draws on and contributes to Science and Technology Studies, HCI, and South Asia studies. I earned my PhD in Informatics at UC Irvine, with training in Anthropology and Feminist Studies and a BS and MS at Stanford in Computer Science (HCI, STS) before that. I draw on experiences working as a User Experience Designer at Google and as a Computer Scientist as both as a source of research problems and a source of insight on how technical practices are shaped by hierarchies of value, gender, race, and the cultural project called ‘modernity.’

My research has been funded by the Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, NSF Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems, and a Intel People and Practices@UCI Research Grant.