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Profile profile for StaitiA

Alana Staiti


B.S., Textiles and Apparel Design, Cornell University
M.A., History and Museum Studies, University of Delaware
Ph.D., Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University

My research draws on history of technology, body studies, science studies, and visual studies. I write about the technical and aesthetic practices of scientific and computer graphic modeling and visual cultures of computing in late twentieth century United States. My academic background combines fashion history and practice, material culture studies, and science and technology studies.

I have worked at several museums and special collections, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. I advocate for critical and thoughtful collections stewardship, expanded access to collections, and transparency and cross-disciplinary communication in museum practice.

Research Specialties: 
  • History of technology
  • History of computer graphics and animation
  • History of scientific and artistic models; history of body modeling
  • Feminist science studies
  • Material culture and visual studies
  • Cultural history of 20th c. U.S.
Role in Museum: 

Curator of the History of Computers and Information Sciences


Recent projects and activities:

  • I was interviewed for an episode of the podcast 99% Invisible, about a mannequin designer, Lester Gaba and his mannequin Cynthia (released November 26, 2019): https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/mannequin-pixie-dream-girl/
  • On November 8, 2019 I was interviewed by Cornell in Washington students for a podcast created for their Enduring Issues course, led by Prof. David Silbey: https://blogs.cornell.edu/issues/2019/11/11/hill-to-hill-podcast-episode-25-with-dr-alana-staiti-of-the-smithsonian/
  • At the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology, I presented a paper entitled, "The Digital Michelangelo Project: Italophilia in Computer Graphics Research," (Milan, October 26, 2019)
  • At the annual meeting of SIGCIS (Special Interest Group for Computing, Information and Society), I co-chaired a panel with Dr. Andrew Meade McGee entitled, "The Digital as Material," featuring papers by Sytze Van Herck (University of Luxembourg), Kimon Keramidas (New York University), and Petrina Foti (Rochester Institute of Technology), (Milan, October 27, 2019)
Professional Affiliations: 
  • Society for the History of Technology
  • History of Science Society
  • Costume Society of America


Video Game History Beyond Video Games: A Curator's Appeal ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories, Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 2019)
Before Body Scanning There was Looker: Building the Proto-Digital Hollywood Actor, circa 1981 PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas, Vol. 60, Biometrics: Mediating Bodies (Spring 2019): 222-235