Etienne Benson is an Associate Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Undergraduate Chair of the Science, Technology, and Society major. He is the author of Wired Wilderness: Technologies of Tracking and the Making of Modern Wildlife (2010) and Surroundings: A History of Environments and Environmentalisms (2020). His current work focuses on the history of fluvial geomorphology.
Cameron Brinitzer is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation asks how culture—long renowned precisely for its ambience and imponderability, and as something that one might only hope to get a sense of over time and through immersion in the field—has been made into an epistemic object of experimental human, life, and mind sciences; and, how an unruly thing like culture actually gets materialized and measured in the famously controlled settings of the (experimental psychology) laboratory.
Gabriel Coren is a researcher in the Transformations of the Human program at the Berggruen Institute and a visiting scientist of the Endy Lab in the department of bioengineering at Stanford University. He received a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation, “New Materials for Life,” chronicles the efforts of chemical and life scientists as they fabricate novel forms of living matter for prospective application to biotech and medical therapeutics. A portion of this work, titled “Live Inter Vivos,” has been published in BioSocieties. At Berggruen, Gabriel is conducting fieldwork with synthetic biologists and biogeochemists for the “Biotechnology and the Human” project cluster and co-leads The H.Earth collective, which explores how current biological engineering practices challenge traditional divisions between the human, living, and natural worlds.
Rosanna Dent is an Assistant Professor of History at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is broadly interested in how human interactions unfold in the context of knowledge production, and the implications of these relationships for questions of political and social justice. Her current book manuscript examines the history of human sciences research in A’uwe-Xavante (Indigenous) communities in Central Brazil.
Sebastián Gil-Riaño is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Stefan Helmreich is professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is author of Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas (2009) and Sounding the Limits of Life: Essays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond (2016). His essays have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Representations, Amer
Andi Johnson is a Senior Lecturer in the History and Sociology of Science Department at Penn. Her research interests include the anthropology and history of exercise physiology (and sport science more generally). Her recent thinking on exercise physiology “field” studies can be found in “Manufacturing Invisibility in ‘the Field’: Distributed Ethics, Wearable Technologies, and the Case of Exercise Physiology” in Sterling & McDonald, eds. (2020) Sports, Society, and Technology: Bodies, Practices, Knowledge Production.
David Kaiser is Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Physics at MIT, where he also serves as Associate Dean for Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing. His books include Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics (2005), How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (2011), and Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World (2020). His work has been featured in Science, Nature, the London Review of Books, the New York Times, and the New Yorker magazine.
Judy Kaplan is a postdoctoral teaching fellow with the Integrated Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work, which focuses on the history of the language sciences, has appeared in Technology and Culture, Osiris, History of the Human Sciences, and the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Current projects include a monograph on the pathways by which nineteenth-century philology moved from libraries into fields of imperial praxis and exchange; a co-edited volume on invisible labor in the production of scientific knowledge; and a new disciplinary history of linguistics.
Susan Lindee is the Janice and Julian Bers Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies historical and contemporary questions circulating around and through the rise of modern genetics, and its meanings and practices in the Cold War. She is particularly interested in how knowledge of heredity functions in the broader world, and how radiation risk shaped theories and technologies of human genetics. Her books include Rational Fog: Science, Technology and Modern War (Harvard University Press, 2020); Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima (University of Chicago Press, 1994), The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon (W.H. Freeman, 1995) with the late sociologist Dorothy Nelkin, and Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005). She is working now on a study of a Cold War field station established on the Galapagos Islands in 1963.
Ramah McKay is an ethnographer interested in the relationship between apparatuses of knowledge production and theories and practices of care. Currently beginning new work on humanitarian modeling in the context of climate change, her previous work includes Medicine in the Meantime: The Work of Care in Mozambique. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Erika Lorraine Milam is a professor of history at Princeton University. She has published widely on the history of evolutionary theory, exploring how scientists and public audiences have naturalized some behaviors in humans, from sex to aggression, through animal exemplars. Her new project turns to the post-WWII efflorescence of long-term field sites to study animal behavior, the consolidation of behavioral ecology as a discipline, and the networks of collaboration that sustain field research in far flung locales.
Mary X. Mitchell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, where she holds appointments in the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies and the Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology. An attorney by prior vocation, Mitchell studies the intersections between law and social movements and science and technology. Her current book project explores the sociolegal history of the United States’ extraterritorial nuclear blasting program in Oceania.
Paul Wolff Mitchell is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Adriana Petryna is Professor in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is Director of the MD-PhD Program in Anthropology. She is author of Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl and When Experiments Travel: Clinical Trials and the Global Search for Human Subjects, in addition to co-edited volumes, including When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health. Her forthcoming book focuses on the social complexities of abrupt environmental shifts and the limits of emergency response, particularly to wildfires.
Alexis Rider is a PhD candidate in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research, which is situated between the history of science, environmental history, and the environmental humanities, explores how ice has been used by naturalists and scientists to understand and imagine the deep past and future of the Earth.
Laura Stark is a historical sociologist and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research (Chicago, 2012) and numerous articles on science, justice, and social-political theory. Her second book, The Normals: A People’s History (Chicago, under contract), explores how a global market for healthy civilian ‘human subjects’ emerged in law, science, and everyday imagination. It is based on a vernacular archive Stark created with more than 100 ‘normal control’ research subjects and the scientists who experimented with them from 1950 through 1980—which is now housed at the Countway Library for the History of Medicine. Stark is beginning a biography of the cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz.
Deborah A. Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology, and the Director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Research Associate with the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg. Her recent book, Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair, was awarded the Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society in 2020, and was also the runner-up for the Gregory Bateson Prize in the same year. She is also the author of Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (2011), and Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and The Politics of Culture in Jamaica (2004), and is co-editor of the volume Globalization and Race (2006). Thomas co-directed and co-produced the documentary films Bad Friday, and Four Days in May, and she is the co-curator of a multi-media installation titled Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston, which opened at the Penn Museum in November 2017. From 2016-2020, Thomas was the Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. Prior to Thomas’s life as an academic, she was a professional dancer with the New York-based Urban Bush Women.
Sharon Traweek is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her archival, ethnographic and oral history research is on knowledge-making spaces, practices, and the political economies in which they are embedded. Her primary field sites have been at very large research physics laboratories in Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. She also studies the research practices of astronomers working successfully at the edges of transnational projects. In all these cases she has studied their narrative strategies as they conduct disputes, build meshworks, and gather resources across many sectors globally to do their work at a shifting array of local sites. Those practices are at the center of her current book project, under contract with Routledge and written with Prof. Knut Sorensen. They argue that UCLA and NTNU, the largest university in Norway, have been navigating the global neoliberal knowledge-making ecology with very different strategies for governance, diversity, academic freedom, and community relations, including during the pandemic. Her first book, Beamtimes and Lifetimes, remains in print, and 45 articles are widely cited internationally by researchers in the fields of anthropology, cultural studies, history, information studies, international relations, gender studies, Japan studies, science and technology studies, and science education. She has been a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association since 1993, and in 2020 she received the John Desmond Bernal Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science for distinguished contributions to the field.
Laurel Waycott is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.