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Messy Humans: The Social Life of Machines

As a labor ethnographer trained in American Studies, Sociology and Feminist Studies, Erickson and her research team have developed a method for investigating present-day technologies to develop a sociology of machine/human interaction. Please join us as we use the machines of today to think of possible futures.

Faculty Member: Karla Erickson
Discussion Date: Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. 

Meet Professor Erickson

Karla Erickson is a feminist ethnographer of labor. She studies interaction and community in market exchanges. Her first book, The Hungry Cowboy, was about a Cheers-like restaurant, and her second single-authored book How We Die Now studies how residents and workers in a Midwestern elder community manage the challenges of longer lives and slower deaths. Erickson serves on the board of Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Grinnell Community Day Care and Preschool. Erickson received her Ph.D. in the Department of American Studies with a minor in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2004, her M.A. in Liberal Studies from Hamline University in 1998 and her B.A. in English and Women's Studies at Illinois Wesleyan in 1995. 

Additional Reading Materials

Don't be fooled by Charismatic Robots
by Karla Erickson

How AI will Rewire Us
by Nicholas A. Christakis
The Atlantic

Self-Tracking your 2020 Resolutions
by Enrique Rueda and Karla Erickson
Scientific American



  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Monday October 12
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Please register below.
Event registration summary
Virtual Alumni College - Messy Humans: The Social Life of Machines: