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Christo Sims

Associate Professor | University of California San Diego

Christo Sims is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and an affiliated faculty member in Science Studies, Ethnic Studies, and the Design Lab at the University of California San Diego. In 2020–21, he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Most broadly, his scholarship focuses on the intersection of techno-optimism, design, social inequity, and sustainability. He is currently working on a book about the tech industry’s relationship to “green growth,” social inequalities, and the built environment in Silicon Valley. Previously, he studied the place of digital technologies in American youth cultures and amongst institutional reformers. His award-winning 2017 book, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism (Princeton University Press), examines how and why new media technologies are repeatedly figured as powerful solutions for enduring social problems despite a long history of disappointments and failures amongst tech-centered reform initiatives. He is also the coauthor of Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (MIT 2009), which has become a foundational text in the field of digital media and learning. Prior to graduate school, he worked in user experience design, primarily for large not-for-profit organizations, and collaborated with the design consultancy Tellart. Having worked as both an ethnographer and a designer, he is also interested in how ethnography and design play roles in the making of public life. In that vein, he is a founding member of both the Studio for Ethnographic Design at UCSD and the University of California Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design. He received a BA from Bowdoin College in 2000 and a master’s (2007) and PhD (2012) from the University of California, Berkeley School of Information.

Christo Sims reviewed an early draft of Toward People’s Community Control of Technology: Race, Access, and Education.

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