dr. C.R. Lynch (Casey)

Assistant Professor

About Me

I am Assistant Professor of Digitalization and Society. Prior to joining UTwente in September 2022, I was an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno (2019-2022) and a visiting scholar at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain (2017-2019). I received a BA in International Development Studies and Contemporary Studies from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Canada (2012), and a MA and PhD in Geography from the University of Arizona in the United States (2015 and 2019).

Broadly conceived, my research employs ethnographic, collaborative, and participatory methods to examine the increasingly central role of emerging digital technologies in urban life, interrogating how they produce new forms of power and control, but also new openings for democratic decision-making and the projection of alternative futures. My research is further focused around several themes: 1) community-based and participatory forms of digital development, 2) the development and deployment of socially and emotionally interactive technologies, including social robots, and 3) the theoretical underpinnings of AI and robotics. My work has received funding from the US National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a Fulbright Fellowship, and has been published in journals like Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Antipode, Environment and Planning D, Urban Geography, Regional Studies, and others.


Earth & Environmental Sciences
Artificial Intelligence
Urban Politics
Social Sciences


My research cuts across STS, human geography, urban studies, and social theory. 

One of my main interests is in the work of community-based and alternative technology movements that challenge or re-think processes of digitalization from critical, participatory, democratic, and ethical perspectives. This was the focus of my doctoral dissertation completed in 2019 at the University of Arizona, in which I conducted ethnographic research with community technology collectives in Barcelona loosely organized around calls for “technological sovereignty.” This work traces how an emerging network of cooperatives, community organizations, and activists utilize open-source technologies to build alternative local economies. Drawing on STS, urban theory, and feminist theory, the research makes an empirical and theoretical contribution to ongoing debates over the politics of “smart city” infrastructures. The dissertation moves beyond critiques of the smart city as an approach to urban governance to explore more broadly the complex imbrications between processes of urban change and digital innovation, and the possibilities for alternative models of digital development in urban life. I trace how local citizens manage common digital infrastructures, experiment with alternative forms of work and property, and re-imagine themselves as digital subjects.

More recently, I have begun studying socially and emotionally interactive technologies (robots, chatbots, etc.) and the new forms of relationships they form and mediate with human interlocutors. Prior to joining UTwente in 2022, I was the PI on a National Science Foundation (US) funded project titled “Social Robots and the Production of Space: Exploring the Socio-Spatial Dimensions of Human-Robot Interaction.” This is a broad interdisciplinary collaboration involving a roboticist, a digital artist, the curators of two museums, and several postgraduate and undergraduate students. The project interrogates both the processes and logics of social robotic development, as well as the politics and ethics of employing such technologies in specific social spaces. The project employs ethnographic research to study the development and deployment of a robot tour-guide equipped with a socially aware navigation system to be used in two museums in Reno, Nevada, USA.


Lynch, C., Bissell, D., House-Peters, L., & Del Casino Jr. , V. J. (2022). Robotics, Affective Displacement, and the Automation of Care. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 112(3), 684-691. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2021.1985953
Lynch, C. (2021). Critical geographies of social robotics. Digital Geography and Society, 2, [100010]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diggeo.2021.100010
Sammler, K. , & Lynch, C. (2021). Apparatuses of observation and occupation: Settler colonialism and space science in Hawai'i. Environment and planning D: Society and Space, 39(5), 945-965. https://doi.org/10.1177/02637758211042374
Lynch, C., & Del Casino Jr. , V. J. (2019). Smart Spaces, Information Processing, and the Question of Intelligence. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 110(2), 382-390. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2019.1617103
Lynch, C. R. (2018). 25th Anniversary Retrospective: A postcapitalist politics. Gender, Place, and Culture, 25(7), 1089-1091. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369x.2018.1462756
Other Contributions

Forthcoming Publications

Salek Shahrezaie, Roya, Bethany Manalo, Aaron Brantley, Casey R. Lynch, and David Feil-Seifer (Accepted, forthcoming 2022). Advancing Socially-Aware Navigation for Public Spaces. IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN).

Del Casino, Vincent, and Casey R. Lynch (Accepted, forthcoming) Robots, Robotic Technologies, and Labor Geographies. Handbook of Labor Geography (Edward Elgar Publishing, ed. Andrew Herod).

Lynch, Casey R. & Vincent Del Casino Jr (accepted, forthcoming). Perceptions of Intelligence in Urban AI and the Contingent Logics of Real Estate Estimate Algorithms. AI Urbanism (eds. Cugurullo, F., Marvin, S. McGuirk, P., Caprotti, F., Cook, M., and Karvonen, A.). Routledge.

Lynch, Casey R., & Kerri Jean Ormerod. (accepted, forthcoming). Science. The Wilely-Blackwell Companion to Social and Cultural Geography. (eds. Jamie Winders and Ishan Ashutosh).

Lynch, Casey R. and Farrokhi, Bahareh (accepted, forthcoming). Digital Geographies and Everyday Life: Space, Materiality, Agency. Routledge Handbook of Methodologies in Human Geography (eds. Sarah Lovell, Mark Rosenberg, & Stephanie Coen). DOI: 10.4324/9781003038849-19

Google Scholar Link


Prior to joining UT, I taught in several undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the University of Nevada Reno, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, University of California Education Abroad Program, and University of Arizona. These include courses on urban geography, geographic thought, nationalism, Mediterranean cultural studies, and sustainable development, among other topics. I also have extensive experience in experiential and field-based education, primarily as an international field instructor leading courses for high school students in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. At UT I contribute to several degree programs teaching on themes related to the social, political, and ethical dimensions of digitalization and innovation.

Courses Academic Year  2022/2023

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Ravelijn (building no. 10), room 4420
Hallenweg 17
7522NH  Enschede
The Netherlands

Navigate to location

Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Ravelijn  4420
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

Social Media