Morgan G. Ames

Associate Director of Research and Chair of the Designated Emphasis in STS

Assistant Adjunct Professor, School of Information
University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, CSTMS, Office for the History of Science and Technology
Affiliation period: January 2016 -
Degrees Ph.D. Communication; Minor in Anthropology :: Stanford University (2013)
M.S. Information Management and Systems :: University of California, Berkeley (2006)
B.A. Computer Science :: University of California, Berkeley (2004)

Morgan G. Ames researches the ideological origins of inequality in the technology world, with a focus on utopianism, childhood, and learning. The questions that drive her current projects concern the ways in which young people construct their identities with computers, and how computers (and the technology design practices that produced them) shape the identities they construct.

Her book The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child (MIT Press, 2019) draws on archival research and a seven-month ethnography in Paraguay to explore the cultural history, results, and legacy of the OLPC project - and what it tells us about the many other technology projects that draw on similar utopian ideals.

Her next project extends the questions she asks in The Charisma Machine regarding the interaction between computers, ideology, and identity to explore the role that utopianism plays in discourses around childhood, education, and 'development' in two geographically overlapping but culturally divided worlds: developer culture of Silicon Valley and the working-class and immigrant communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. This includes investigations of youth cultures, Minecraft, artificial intelligence, programming practices, and generational differences in programming "origin stories."

Morgan is an assistant adjunct professor in the School of Information and associate director of research for the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches in Data Science and administers the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. She is also affiliated with the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Working Group, the Center for Science, Technology, Society and Policy, and the Berkeley Institute of Data Science.

See other publications on her website,

last updated: March 13th, 2024