Ritwik Banerji

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Dept:World Languages And Cultures
Office:3238 Pearson

Area of expertise: Anthropology of Sound, Experimental Ethnography

Topics of interest: Ethnographic Methods, Human-Computer Interaction, Music and Sound


Ritwik Banerji is an experimental ethnographer, interactive media artist, and saxophonist. His work focuses on the development and use of artificial intelligence as a technology for ethnographic depiction, performance, and elicitation. He is currently writing a monograph on the relationship between freedom and knowledge in the contemporary musical practice of free improvisation drawing on several years of ethnographic fieldwork in Berlin, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Banerji received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in music with a designated emphasis in new media. His writings appear in New Directions in Third Wave Human-Computer Interaction, the Oxford Handbook of the Phenomenology of Music Cultures, Jazz and Culture, and Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, and is forthcoming in Jazz Perspectives. He was previously a Multimodal Contributing Editor for Platypus, the blog of the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing (CASTAC).

As an artist, Banerji has presented his work at Experimental Intermedia (NYC), Ausland (Berlin), Elastic Arts (Chicago), and the MOXSonic Festival. Through his creative work, he has collaborated with Tony Malaby, Axel Dörner, Rob Frye, Ben Lamar Gay, Theresa Wong, Liz Allbee, Joel Grip, Matthias Müller, and Tritha Sinha.

Grants and Awards

  • Digital Scholarship Grant, Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, Iowa State University

  • Peter Lyman Fellowship, Berkeley Center for New Media

  • Fulbright Journalism Fellowship (Germany)

  • Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies

Recent / Major Publications

  • 2022. “Artificial Intelligence and Phenomenological Ethnography.” Oxford Handbook of the Phenomenology of Music Cultures. ed. Harris Berger, David Vanderhamm, and Friedlind Riedel. Oxford University Press.

  • 2022. “Whiteness as Improvisation, Nonwhiteness as Machine.” Jazz and Culture. Special Issue: Jazz in the Present Tense. ed. Nate Sloan, Kwami Coleman, Fumi Okiji, and Kimberly Hannon Teal.