Shannon Mattern

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Shannon Mattern is the Penn Presidential Compact Professor of Media Studies, with a secondary appointment in History of Art, at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. Previously, she worked for 18.5 years at The New School, in New York, where she served on the faculty in both the Department of Anthropology and the School of Media Studies. While at The New School, she directed the graduate program in media studies and the undergraduate major and minor in anthropology and launched and directed the graduate minor in Anthropology + Design.

Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She’s the author of four books: The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Dirt and Data: 5000 Years of Urban Media, all published by University of Minnesota Press; and A City Is Not a Computer published by Princeton University Press in 2021. She has also written articles and book chapters, including a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures for Places, an open-access journal focusing on architecture, urbanism, and landscape. She is the president of the board of the Metropolitan New York Library Council, and contributes to public design and interactive projects and exhibitions.

She currently teaches courses on maps, information infrastructures, urban intelligence, mediated cities, field methods, and the connections between anthropology and design. (2024)


Books, dossiers[edit]

  • Reparationsmanualer, ed. & intro. Solveig Daugaard, trans. Peter Borum, Copenhagen: Billedkunstskolerne (Kunsten som forum, 12), 2023, 50 pp. (Danish)

Book chapters, papers, essays[edit]

  • "A City Is Not a Computer", Places, Feb 2017; repr. in Historic Cities: Issues in Urban Conservation, eds. Jeff Cody and Francesco Siravo, Los Angeles: J. P. Getty Museum, 2019.
  • "The World Silicon Valley Made", Public Books, Oct 2017; repr. in Think in Public: A Public Books Reader, eds. Sharon Marcus and Caitlin Zaloom, Columbia University Press, 2019. DOI.
  • "How to Graft a City", The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 1: "Grafting", Mississauga: Blackwood Gallery: University of Toronto Mississauga, Jun 2018, pp 4-7. [6]
  • "Fluttering Code: A Cultural and Aesthetic History of the Split-flap Display", Modes of Criticism 5: "Design Systems", Eindhoven: Onomatopee, Dec 2019, pp 49-63. [7] [8]
  • "Shannon Mattern", in Ein Medium namens McLuhan. 37 Befragungen eines Klassikers, eds. Peter Bexte and Martina Leeker, Lüneburg: meson press, 2020, pp 52-53.
  • "Afterword", in Crowdsourcing, Constructing and Collaborating Methods and Social Impacts of Mapping the World Today, eds. Siddharth Peter deSouza, Nida Rehman, and Saba Sharma, Bloomsbury India, Dec 2020.
  • "In Focus Introduction: Media Study beyond Media Studies: Pandemic Lessons for an Evolving Field", JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 62:4, Summer 2023, pp 156-160. DOI.