I am a Professor of Sociology at Mills College in Oakland, CA. I also teach in the public policy graduate program at Mills. I am interested in the role information plays in human social organization. My toolbox combines the phenomenology of Schutz, Goffman's analysis of interaction and gatherings, the sociology of organizations, and various mathematical and computer modeling tools.

I have published pieces on time, community organizations and coalitions, notification and the information order, and democratic theory.

My graduate training at Yale was as a sociologist of organizations (working with Chick Perrow and Charles Kadushin) and, to a lesser extent, urban communities. I have written about interorganizational collaboration, organizations and time, and the informational responsibilities of social relationships (what I call "notification norms"). My current work is on the sociology of information. I am somewhat eclectic in my approach. On the one hand, I try to think about information behavior in the spirit of Simmel's formal sociology, Goffman's interactional sociology, and Schutz's phenomenology. On the other hand, I'm inclined toward big data, visualization, math, and modeling. I teach and play around with various kinds of simulation (from intelligent agents to getting Excel to do things it's not supposed to do), geographic information systems, social network analysis, and phenomenology (especially Alfred Schutz and Maurice Natanson).

My approach thinking about human organization is explicitly trans-disciplinary. I move back and forth between big and small, quant and qual, individuals, groups, and networks, silicon-based and carbon-based life forms. Unlike most people in my field I do not think economists and markets are bad and unlike a lot of friends on the more reductionist side of the dance floor, I think a lot about both emergence and phenomenology. Two of the most stimulating years of my life were spent as visiting scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a place dedicated to crossing boundaries.

Before becoming a sociologist I was a systems programmer, working for IBM Research, Bank of America, Chemical Bank, and Synergistic Systems. My BA, from New College of Florida, is in mathematical, physical and computer sciences which translates to nearly, but not quite, majoring in physics, chemistry, math, and computer science. My undergraduate thesis was the development of a Pascal compiler for the IBM Series/1 minicomputer and I've coded in languages ranging from 370 assembler to Python. Back in the day I learned a lot about Raman spectroscopy at RPI and worked on software for the world's second scanning tunneling electron microscope at IBM. I am an inveterate Germanophile. While at Yale I helped to develop the first humanities computer consulting services at the Yale Computer and then founded and ran "The City Room" — an early attempt at community informatics — at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

After a 2.5 year stint as chair of the Faculty Executive Committee at Mills from 2009 to 2011 I turned my attention to new and old projects. At the top of the list was wrapping up a book called "Ghosts of Organizations Past" about trying to organize urban communities for social change (the book came out in June 2015 from Temple University Press) and work on a second one called "Notification in Everyday Life" about the social rules that govern who you need to tell what when and how. Beyond these book projects I continue work on a vision of the future of higher education called "Majoring in the 21st Century" and learning more about "big data" and coding. Other things contesting for space on the calendar are my flirtations with audio journalism, data visualization, an ongoing interest in design and innovation (especially open innovation at a startup Innnovation Exchange), 3D printing, and building projects at various stages from imaginings to maintenance.