Ellan Spero’s research focuses on the ways people envision human progress through the systems, institutions, objectives, and narratives they create. As a historian working at the intersection of technology, business, and higher education, Spero explores narratives of progress, systems of production, academic-industrial ecosystems, and interactions between humans and material infrastructures.
Spero has a BS and an MS from Cornell University in fiber science and apparel design and an MA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in museum studies and textile conservation. She holds a PhD from MIT in history, anthropology, science, technology, and society. Before working at MIT, she was a visiting scientist at the Smart Living Lab at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Fribourg, Switzerland, and a joint researcher with MIT and the Singapore University of Technology and Design. She is also co-founder and professor of the practice at Station1, a nonprofit higher education institution focused on an inclusive and cross-disciplinary model of socially directed science and technology education, research, and innovation.