Note: I am reconstructing the site to experiment with the notion of scholarly “projects.” Our projects as scholars typically combine practices in knowledge production with practices of knowledge expression and travel. Separating research from teaching and service/outreach in annual reviews and CVs misses these connections, devaluing many of our accomplishments. I am experimenting with adding “projects” without eliminating standard categories. I’m allowing older pages to remain available as I update them. Apologies for any inconveniences while I work this out. (March 2023)
Gary Downey is an ethnographic listener committed to engineering studies, STS making & doing, and understanding connections between knowledge and personhood. Trained as a mechanical engineer (B.S. Lehigh) and cultural anthropologist (Ph.D. Chicago), he is Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and Society and affiliated faculty member emeritus in Women’s and Gender Studies and Engineering Education.
Downey is author of The Machine in Me: An Anthropologist Sits Among Computer Engineers (Routledge), co-author of Engineers for Korea (Morgan & Claypool), co-editor of Making & Doing: Activating STS through Knowledge Expression and Travel (MIT Press, open access), co-editor of Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies (School of American Research Press), co-editor of What Is Global Engineering Education For?: The Making of International Educators (Morgan & Claypool), and author of the multimedia course Engineering Cultures (Virginia Tech).
He is co-editor of the Engineering Studies Series at The MIT Press and editor of the Global Engineering Series at Springer Nature. He is co-founder of the International Network for Engineering Studies and editor emeritus of its journal Engineering Studies: Journal of the International Network of Engineering Studies. He has been Distinguished Lecturer at the American Society for Engineering Education and Keynote Lecturer at the World Congress of Chemical Engineering and Brazilian Society for Science and Technology Studies (ESOCITE.BR).
He is former president of the Society for Social Studies of Science (2013-2015), which acknowledged his scholarly contributions to STS with its 2019 STS Infrastructure Award.
At Virginia Tech, he is winner of the William E. Wine Award for career excellence in teaching, XCaliber Award for high-quality instructional technology, and Diggs Teaching Scholar Award for original scholarship in teaching.
His current research uses historical ethnography to follow how engineers attach themselves to countries, infusing technical education in problem solving with contrasting value commitments and expectations. His work extends critical analysis to critical participation, a version of STS making & doing, to enable both engineers and STS scholars better identify and reflect critically on their knowledge, identities, and commitments.