Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software
Christopher M. Kelty
A discussion of the recently published book, Two Bits, which will focus on the meaning and cultural significance of Free Software, its history and the manner in which it has been "modulated" into domains both close to and far from software and networks. Topics for discussion include anthropological approaches to studying distributed phenomena, the historical analysis of Free Software and the use of Free Software practices in education, science, music and culture generally.
Since 2001 Christopher M. Kelty has been in the Anthropology department at Rice University, where he has taught courses on anthropology of science and technology, anthropology of information and networks; intellectual property, free software and open access; infrastructure and the media of knowledge production/circulation. Rice University's Anthropology department has long been known for its pioneering work in ethnographic method, the politics and poetics of ethnography and anthropology as cultural critique. Kelty's work continues this tradition by thinking through new modes of collaboration and cooperation at stake in Free Software, and how they might be applied in the domain of qualitative social science and humanities scholarship.
Kelty's PhD is from MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society, and before that, the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the Fall of 2008 he will take up a new post at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Center for Society and Genetics, and the Information Studies department.
This past spring, Kelty was a Visiting Associate Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University.