Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Zara Mirmalek

Zara Mirmalek

zara_mirmalek (at)

Zara Mirmalek is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Her research focuses on cultural and historical studies of technology, science, and human-machine workgroups situated within contemporary organizational communities, in particular those that operate as public references for societal norms of science, exploration and technology innovation. Her interests include organization environments and lived-experiences of work-time relationships, culture and communication, and sociotechnical imaginaries of democracy, citizen identity, and public participation.

Her current research project is a study of telepresence, science and the public among communities engaged in the use of remotely operated robots for deep-sea science, exploration, and education. The project is funded by a NSF INSPIRE award and includes interdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborators. Zara has conducted ethnographic (participant-observation) research in various work sites including commercial airlines and space exploration. She is working on a book, informed by one year of participant-observation as a member of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers mission at the NASA/Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, about the cultural production of temporal relationships in an interplanetary work environment and what it reveals about the contemporary conditions (conceptual and in practice) of time and human-technology work relationships.

Zara received her PhD in Communication and Science Studies from University of California San Diego, and a Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy from California State University East Bay. She has also completed postgraduate work in the Science Technology and Society Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.