Biella Coleman is a geek anthropologist, in both senses of the epithet: an anthropologist who studies geeks, and a geek who is an anthropologist. Though she's best known today for her excellent and insightful work on the mechanism and structure underpinning Anonymous and /b/, Coleman is also an expert on the organization, structure, philosophy and struggles of the free software/open source movements. I met Biella while she was doing fieldwork as an intern at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She's also had deep experience with the Debian project and many other hacker/FLOSS subcultures.
Coleman's has published her dissertation, edited and streamlined, under the title of Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, which comes out today from Princeton University Press
What was your reaction to KONY 2012? Do you remember it? Did you have a reaction? Did it serve as fodder for an anthropologically grounded treatise in one of your classes or a conversation in the spring of 2012 during it’s viral time? Did it launch you into instant empathy and social action as the filmmakers intended? Or, did you create a condescending Willy Wonka or Skeptical African Kid meme to mock it?
Matthew Durington is the Media Editor at Anthropology Now