UCL Anthropology

Prof Hannah Knox

Prof Hannah Knox

Professor of Anthropology

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Jul 2014

Research summary

Hannah gained her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2003 and joined UCL in 2014 after from the ESRC Centre for Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester.

Her research is concerned with understanding processes of social and political transformation through the ethnographic study of technical relations and expert practices. Over the years her work has moved from a focus on struggles over knowledge and expertise to incorporate the role that materials of different kinds play in shaping techno-political relations. She has conducted research with new media entrepreneurs and economic development practitioners in the UK, IT managers and digital modellers in global corporations, and road construction and design engineers in Peru. Most recently she has been studying the politics of energy and climate change in a project that has been following the pursuit of carbon reduction strategies by a network of scientists, activists and local authority officers in Manchester, UK. Her work is concerned with understanding contemporary manifestations of risk and responsibility, territorial politics, expertise, knowledge and technology. 

She is the co-editor of Ethnography for Data Saturated World (2018) and ‘Objects and Materials: A Routledge Companion’ (2013), and author of Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (2015). Her next book Thinking like a Climate is due to be published in 2020.

Teaching summary

My main areas of teaching are in digital anthropology and the anthropology of infrastructure, and I work with both undergraduates and masters students.

I am interested in supervising PhD students working on topics associated with the anthropology of climate change and energy, sociality and data, infrastructure, expertise, and the techno-politics of environmental change.

Current PhD Students:

Dan Artus: The Epidemiology of Truth: A Multi-Method Ethnography of HPV Vaccine in Ireland

Joseph Cook:  Making through Measuring: An Ethnography of Workplace Designers

Dave Cook:  Digital Nomads: Imagined Worlds of Work

Lydia Gibson:  The Science behind the Cockpit Country: Leeward Maroon Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Emilie Glazer: Infrastructures of Water and Care: Examining the interface of water safety, systems of care and technscience in the anthropocene

Andrea Lathrop Ligueros:  Media Temporality and the Persistence of Polaroid in the Digital Age

Evelina Gambino:  Infrastructures, Workers and the Making of the New Silk Road

Julian Clavijo:  A tale of Development and Migration: A Multisited Digital Ethnography of the Mobilisations of Afro-Columbians from the Pacific Region to Chile

Luke Taft:  Reconfiguring Thermal Comfort in Offices

Yunchang Yang: Photography and Social Life: An ethnography of Chinese Amateur Photography Online

Rosemary Grennan: Indexing Informality: Media Piracy, Cheap copies and Vernacular Reproduction in Mumbai


Hannah gained her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2003. Her PhD was a study of new media start up firms and an economic development organisation. It looked at the cultural imaginaries associated with the promise of ICTs and the ways in which new media technologies were framing ideas about economy, exchange and work in contemporary Britain.

She subsequently worked at Manchester Business School on a project exploring the role of information and communications technologies in managing the problem of knowledge in large multinational organisations.

In 2004 Hannah joined the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester, an interdisciplinary research centre oriented to the social and cultural analysis of all aspects of social change. Here, she conducted on road construction in Peru, on engineering in the UK and on climate change mitigation activities also in the UK. During her time at CRESC she was co-convenor, with Penny Harvey, of a research strand on Infrastructures and Social Change, and she continues her work with CRESC in leading a research strand on the Social Life of Methods (2014-2017).

Hannah joined UCL in 2014 as a Lecturer in Digital Anthropology and Material Culture.