Nancy A. Van House

I am a Professor Emerita, which means, in short, I do what I want and not what I don’t want.  I am currently teaching intermittently.  I will not take on new PhD students.  I am selective in taking on other commitments (but I’m open to interesting opportunities!).


Current Project

Shows police and many people with cameras and phones

Screen shot, live stream from Berkeley pro-Trump/counter-protester confrontation, Aug. 27, 2017. Source: @blakersdozen via Buzzfeed News.

My current research project is on live-streaming from protests.  I’m putting it in the context of the extensive historical tradition of witnessing as a moral act.  Articles in progress.

Screen shot from live stream by Irma Hinojosa, @Irmahinosa_ , Berkeley, Aug 27, 2017.  “Free Speech” demonstrators surrounded by hostile counter-demonstrators.

Relevant publication:  Van House,  Nancy A. (2016).  Periscope, Congress and the aliveness of video. The Berkeley Blog, June 29, 2016.

My research is in three major areas:

 Visual Technologies, Social Media, and Personal Digital Memory

My current research combines approaches from new media, visual anthropology and sociology, visual culture, and human-computer interaction (HCI). Personal photography has been one of the most successful — loved — consumer technologies of the last century. Now new technologies are making it increasingly possible for “ordinary” users to create, share, use, re-use, and remix visual and other media to support their activities, including social networking. Images are powerful in themselves, and important social media.

I seek to understand (1) existing and emergent uses of new visual technologies such as photography and video, and, more broadly, the power, meaning, and uses of visual media, and (2) what the success of personal photography can tell us about the processes of technology adoption and appropriation and (3) the emerging new versions of visual media via social media.

I have taught an interdisciplinary seminar on this topic.

Science and Technology Studies (STS)

STS is an interdisciplinary field concerned with (1) the development of knowledge within epistemic communities, and (2) the interaction between technology and the social. It is a source of concepts, methods, and precedents for a critical approach to information and communication technologies, and to the field of HCI.

I created and taught course I212, Information and Society, as an ever-changing seminar, in science and technology studies (STS) as it relates to information studies and systems and related areas.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

I have expertise in user experience research and evaluation. My work is grounded in  STS and related areas, questioning assumptions about technology, users, designers, and the relationships among them.

I created and taught our UX research course I214, Needs and Usability Assessment, which addresses (1) major concepts in user experience research, including both user needs and preferences, and post-implementation evaluation; and (2) methods, both applied social science research methods, and more informal methods used in user experience research. It addresses the basic concepts and methods with which a practicing professional must be familiar.

This page last revised 3 Mar 2018



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