Silvia Lindtner

Headshot of Silvia Lindtner
Silvia Lindtner
Visiting Associate Professor of IMA (Interactive Media Arts)

Silvia Margot Lindtner (she/her) is a writer and ethnographer. She is a Visiting Associate Professor of IMA (Interactive Media Arts) at NYU Shanghai for the 2021-22 academic year, a CUSP (China-US Studies Program) Fellow with the Institute of International Education (IIE), and a PIP (Public Intellectual Program) Fellow with the National Committee on US-China Relations. She is Associate Professor at the University of Michigan in the School of Information and Director of the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC). Lindtner's research focuses on the cultures and politics of technology innovation, including the labor necessary to incubate entrepreneurial life, data-driven futures, and the promise of democratized agency. Drawing from more than ten years of multi-sited ethnographic research, she writes about China's shifting position in the global political economy of computing, supply chains, industrial and agricultural production, and science and technology policy. She is the author of Prototype Nation: China and the Contested Promise of Innovation (Princeton University Press, 2020). The award-winning book reveals how a growing distrust in Western models of progress and development, including Silicon Valley and the tech industry after the financial crisis of 2007–8, shaped the vision of China as a “new frontier” of innovation. Lindtner unpacks how this promise of entrepreneurial life has influenced governance, education, policy, investment, and urban redesign in ways that normalize the persistence of sexist and racist violence and various forms of labor exploitation.

Select Publications

  • Lin, Cindy and Silvia Lindtner. 2021. Techniques of Use: Confronting Value Systems of Productivity, Progress, and Usefulness in Computing and Design. CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems May 2021 Article No.: 595 Pages 1–16.
  • Lindtner, S. 2020. Prototype Nation: China and the Contested Promise of Innovation. Princeton University Press.
  • Precarity Lab. 2020. Technoprecarious. MIT Press.
  • Lindtner, S., Bardzell, S., Bardzell, J. 2018. Design and Intervention in the Age of “No Alternative,” Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - CSCW, Vol. 2, Article No. 109, November, 2018.
  • Lindtner, S. and Avle, S. T 2017. Tinkering with Governance: Technopolitcs and the Economization of Citizenship, In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - CSCW, Vol 1, Article 20, November, 2017.


  • PhD, Information and Computer Science
    University of California, Irvine

Research Interests

  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Cultural and Feminist Anthropology Global
  • China Studies
  • Critical Computing
  • Technology Policy