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Department of Science and Technology Studies

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Science and Technology Studies

Phoebe Sengers




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Phoebe Sengers

Associate Professor
Science & Technology Studies and
Computing and Information Science

phone: 607-255-6554
room: 210 Gates Hall

On Leave 2015-16


  • Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
  • B.S., Johns Hopkins University

Graduate Fields:

  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Information Science


Research Interests

Professor Phoebe Sengers integrates IT design with analysis of the cultural and historical context of technology, particularly in the context of North American consumer culture. A major component of her current work is a long-term design-ethnographic and -historical study of sociotechnological change in the small, traditional fishing community of Change Islands, Newfoundland. Professor Sengers is the Cornell PI for the Intel Science & Technology Center for Social Computing. She has received several major NSF grants, including an NSF CAREER award for using cultural theory to inform the design of domestic technology, and has been a Faculty Fellow in the Cornell Society for the Humanities. Professor Sengers is cross-appointed with Information Science, in the field of Computer Science, and is affiliated with Visual Studies and Art.

Recent Courses Taught

  • Fall 2014 - (STS 4240) Designing Technology for Social Impact
       TR: 1:25-2:40, 3 Credits

  • Fall 2013 - (STS 4240) Designing Technology for Social Impact
       TR: 1:25-2:40, 3 Credits

  • Selected Publications

    • Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir, Maria Håkansson, James Pierce, Eric Baumer, Carl DiSalvo, and Phoebe Sengers. "Sustainably Unpersuaded: How Persuasion Narrows Our Vision of Sustainability." In Proc. CHI 2012, April 2012.  (acceptance rate: 23%)

    • Steve Harrison, Phoebe Sengers, and Deborah Tatar."Making Epistemological Trouble: Third-Paradigm HCI as Successor Science." Interacting with Computers, special issue on Feminism and HCI. Vol. 23, no. 5, September 2011. pp. 385-392.

    • Stephen Purpura, Victoria Schwanda, Kaiton Williams, William Stubler, and Phoebe Sengers."Fit4Life: The Design of a Persuasive Technology Promoting Healthy Behavior and Ideal Weight." In Proc. CHI 2011, 423-432. (acceptance rate: 27%)

    • Phoebe Sengers. "What I Learned on Change Islands: Reflections on IT and pace of life."interactions, 18, 2 (March 2011), 40-48 (cover article).

    • Carl DiSalvo, Phoebe Sengers, and Hrönn Brynjarsdóttir."Mapping the Landscape of Sustainable HCI."In Proc. CHI 2010. (Acceptance rate: 22%).

    • Kirsten Boehner, Janet Vertesi, Phoebe Sengers, and Paul Dourish. "How HCI Interprets the Probes." In Proc. CHI 2007, pp. 1077-1086.  (Acceptance rate: 24.8%)

    • Kirsten Boehner, Rogerio DePaula, Paul Dourish, and Phoebe Sengers. "How Emotion is Made and Measured." International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Special Issue on Evaluating Affective Interactions. April 2007, pp. 275-291.

    • Phoebe Sengers and Bill Gaver. "Staying Open to Interpretation: Engaging Multiple Meanings in Design and Evaluation." In Proc. Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2006, pp. 99-108. (Acceptance rate: 25%)

    • Genevieve Bell, Mark Blythe, and Phoebe Sengers. "Making by Making Strange: Defamiliarization and the design of domestic technology." ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), Special issue on Social Issues and HCI, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2005, Pages 149-173.