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Christena Nippert-Eng

Christena Nippert-Eng , Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology







Siegel Hall Room 116 E

Office Hours: 

By appointment


Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, Sociology (1994)
M.A., Temple University, Sociology (1985)
B.A., State University of New York College at Cortland, Political Science (1982)

Research Interests 

Cognitive sociology
Culture and everyday life
Social psychology
The home
Time and space
The Western Lowland Gorillas of the Lincoln Park Zoo


Dr. Nippert-Eng teaches film-, project-, field-, and lecture-based courses at IIT. She is director of the Benjamin Franklin Project at IIT as well. Currently, she is a visiting faculty member at Simona Maschi’s Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design in Denmark and enjoys an on-going relationship with the Instituto des Artes Visuais (IADE) in Lisbon, Portugal, where she serves on the Counseling Committee for the doctoral program and on the editorial board for The (Radical) Designist, Journal of Design Culture. She is also on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Design, edited by Lin-Lin Chen at the Graduate Institute of Design, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and the journal Emerald Studies in Media and Communication, edited by Laura Robinson and Sheila Cotton.

Professor Nippert-Eng has held elected council positions for the American Sociological Association's sections on the Sociology of Culture and Work, Organization and Occupations. She was a member of the advisory board for Dr. Nina Wakeford's research center, INCITE, at the University of Surrey in London. From 2010-2011, Dr. Nippert-Eng served as the national Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association. She also has held elected positions on the ASA Section Councils for the "Sociology of Culture" and "Work, Organization and Occupations." She is exceptionally proud to be a founding partner of the Chicago Graduate Student Enthnography Conference, now it its 16th year.

Professor Nippert-Eng's work has been featured extensively in the media, including radio, television and newspaper interviews ranging from NPR's “Talk of the Nation” and WBEZ’s “848” to programs on PBS and MSNBC and stories for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Working Mother and Fast Company. She has been an invited speaker for such diverse venues as the Smithsonian Museum, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons' Pediatric Group, Reason Magazine's Dynamic Visions conference, MotherRead/FatherRead literacy organization, and the Industrial Design Society of America.

In addition to collaborations with other scholars and non-profit organizations Dr. Nippert-Eng conducts industrial research on people's behavior and relationships with objects and spaces, including information and communication technologies. She also consults with in-house research groups on the use of ethnographic methods for corporate applications. Past clients include Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Gillette, Hilton Hotels, and Steelcase.

Selected Publications 

Islands of Privacy: Selective Concealment and Disclosure in Everyday Life. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010)

“Privacy in the United States: Some implications for design,” International Journal of Design, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2007), pp. 1-10.

“Boundary Play,” Space and Culture, Vol. 8, No. 3 (2005), pp. 302-324.

“A View From the Outside: Challenges of the Design Ph.D,” Idade da Imagem. Revista De arte, Ciencia, e Cultura do IADE, Instituto de Artes Visuais, Design e Marketing, No. 3, S. II (2005), pp. 114-124.

Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries Through Everyday Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).