Hanna Rose Shell


Rose Shell


Room E51-180



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Leo Marx Career Development Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

I am a historian of technology, environmental science, and visual media, working in both traditional and non-text based forms of scholarship. At MIT, I am currently the Leo Marx Career Development Associate Professor in the MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society.

My book Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance was published by Zone Books (distributed by MIT Press) in 2012, and recently translated into French as Ni Vu Ni Connu (2014). Other publications include articles in Configurations, Technology and Culture, Journal of Visual Culture, History and Technology, Journal of Short Film, Cabinet, and Transition, as well as the edited volume Extermination of the American Bison (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2004). In 2014, I founded "Beyond Words," a new section of the journal Technology and Culture devoted to audio-visual and non-text based scholarship, for which I serve as commissioning editor. My films Locomotion in Water, Secondhand (Pepe), and Shoddy Aliens, along with associated installation and mixed media work have been exhibited in gallery, museum, theatrical and film festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. My current book project, titled Shoddy: Technology, Waste, and Identity in Rags, is a historical and theoretical inquiry into textile recycling and/as the shifting relationships between self and environment. An associate digital media project is in progress, and the book is under contract with the University of Chicago Press as of 2015; publication is expected in 2017. In this and my previous book, I analyze the production, use, and transformation of often-overlooked, even marginalized, material artifacts located at the interstices of the found and the fabricated, excavating interconnected histories of technology, self, and environment.

At MIT, I teach courses about the history of science, environmental studies, technology, and media, and theory/practice courses on science and film. Undergraduate courses include Technology & Experience, The Rise of Modern Science, and Science on Screen. Graduate-level courses include Introduction to STS, History of Science, Writing and Research Seminar in STS, and Experiments in Film, as well as the Program Seminar for the HASTS doctoral program. I am a faculty affiliate of the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program, and of the MIT Open Documentary Lab. I recently completed a two-year position serving on the Task Force on the Future of MIT Education as part of the working group on the Future Global Implications of edX.

Born in Ontario Canada, I received my AB from Harvard University (1999) and an MA in American Studies at Yale (2002), before completing my PhD in History of Science at Harvard (2007). In 2005-2006, I taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. I did my postdoctoral at the Harvard Society of Fellows where I was a Junior Fellow from 2007-2009, and 2011-2012. I am active in The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), The Society for the Social Study of Science (4S), the History of Science Society (HSS), and The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Building E51-185