Shannon Mattern

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Shannon Mattern is a non-anthropologist Professor of Anthropology at The New School in New York. In January 2023 she’ll start a new position as the Penn Presidential Compact Professor of Media Studies and Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. She served previously, for roughly 15 years, as a faculty member in The New School’s School of Media Studies. Across her 18 years at The New School, she directed the graduate program in media studies, the undergraduate major and minor in anthropology, and the graduate certificate 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 she 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. (2022)


Books, dossiers

  • The New Downtown Library, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007, 193 pp. Publisher. Review: Kruszewski (TSB, PL).
  • A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences, New York: Princeton University Press, Aug 2021, 200 pp. Interview. Publisher.

Book chapters, papers, essays

  • "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.
  • "Sonic Archaeologies", in The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies, ed. Michael Bull, New York: Routledge, Oct 2018. Proofs. Publisher. [1]
  • "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. [5] [6]
  • "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.
  • "The Pulse of Global Passage: Listening to Logistics", in Assembly Codes: The Logistics of Media, eds. Matthew Curtis Hockenberry, Nicole Starosielski, and Susan Marjorie Zieger, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, Sep 2021. [9]