Rachel Plotnick

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

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  • Research and Creative Interests

    Human-Machine Relationships, Interfaces, Touch/Haptics, Design Culture and History, Embodiment, Media and Materiality, History of Technology,


    My research and teaching focus on information, communication and media technologies from an historical and critical/cultural perspective. Specifically, my research agenda examines human-machine relations, particularly as they relate to interfaces (like buttons, keys, and screens). I investigates how these surfaces play a role in the technological and social aspects of daily life.

    My book, Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic and the Politics of Pushing is published by The MIT Press (2018). Read an excerpt here.

    Additionally, my research is featured in Technology and CultureNew Media and Society, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST)Media, Culture and Society and others.

    I am currently working on a new project about "dirty media" - considering how our everyday habits with media (like eating and drinking) and embodied interactions (like handling and fingerprints) reveal the complications and vulnerabilities of media experiences.