Silvia Lindtner is associate professor at the University of Michigan (U-M) in the School of Information and associate director of the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing. Dr. Lindtner’s research interests include cultures and politics of technology innovation, with a particular focus on the feminized and racialized labor necessary to incubate entrepreneurial life and to sustain technological promises of data-driven futures, individual empowerment, and democratized agency. Dr. Lindtner draws from more than ten years of multi-sited ethnographic research, examining China’s shifting position in the global political economy of technology production, economic development, and science and technology policy. She is the author of Prototype Nation: China and the Contested Promise of Innovation (Princeton University Press, 2020). The book reveals how a growing distrust in Western models of progress and development, including Silicon Valley and the tech industry after the financial crisis of 2007–2008, shaped the vision of China as a “new frontier” of innovation. Dr. Lindtner unpacks how this promise of entrepreneurial life has influenced governance, education, policy, investment, and urban redesign in ways that normalize the persistence of racist and sexist forms of exclusions and exploitation.
Dr. Lindtner is a founding member of Precarity Lab, a research collective working on various forms of insecurity, vulnerability, and social and cultural exclusion that digital platforms produce and mediate. The collective’s book Technoprecarious was published with Goldsmiths/MIT Press in 2020. She is the co-founder of the China research collective Hacked Matter, dedicated to critically investigating processes of technology innovation, urban design, and maker-manufacturing cultures. Dr. Lindtner is affiliated with several interdisciplinary centers and initiatives on the U-M campus including the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, the Science, Technology and Society Program, the Digital Studies Institute, the Michigan Interactive and Social Computing Research Group, and directs the Tech.Culture.Matters. research group.
Dr. Lindtner’s research has been awarded support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, IMLS, Intel Labs, Google Anita Borg, and the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation. Her work has appeared at ST&HV (Science, Technology, and Human Values), ESTS (Engaging Science, Technology and Society), SocialText, Women’s Studies Quarterly, China Information, ToCHI, ACM SIGCHI (Human-Computer Interaction), ACM CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing), among other venues. Her work contributes to the fields of STS (science and technology studies), cultural and feminist anthropology, China studies, HCI (human computer interaction), global communication studies, science and technology policy, and design.