My name is Keith Murphy, and I’m an associate professor of anthropology at UC Irvine. I’m a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist, and a fair amount of my work explores the relationship between language, material culture, and human experience. For a long time now I’ve been interested in the social, political, and cultural sides of design and designing, and in particular how collaborative designing unfolds in face-to-face interaction. I’ve worked with architects in Los Angeles and furniture designers in Stockholm, and I’ve written some things on all of this, including a book on Swedish design.
I’m also drawn to studying hand gestures and other forms of embodiment in conversation, and I’ve been known to dabble in phenomenologicalish anthropology. And I really like Goffman, Geertz, and Garfinkel, which feels kind of like an admission, but also liberating, so I’m sticking with it. Anyway, there’s more to say but it’s mostly blabber at this point, so I’ll just mention that I’m currently working on a project about typography, typefaces, and why we care about fonts so much.
In 2016 I won two teaching awards at UC Irvine: the School of Social Sciences Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching award, and UCI’s Professor of the Year, both of which I’m very proud of.
Some other things about me. I went to college at the University of Chicago and got my PhD from UCLA. I’m from Boston, which I talk about a lot, and I’m a fan of the Boston Red Sox, Nancy comics, punk rock, twee pop, and avoiding social media.