Faculty Research Specializations
Here are some of the primary research interests that our faculty pursue. To find out more, follow the link for the researcher's name. See a display of all faculty publications by following the Faculty Publications link.
General history of science, history of biology (genetics, population genetics, Darwin, Darwinism and evolutionary theory, morphology, experimental biology), Russian and Soviet science, institutional history, comparative history of eugenics, nature-nurture controversy, scientific futurism, science and religion, science and literature, science fiction, writing.
history of 20th century disease, epidemiology, population health
history of infectious disease, epidemiology, and public health; the Bacteriological Revolution and its effect on public health; 19th century European (esp. French) social and cultural history; cultural history of bodily knowledge and practices; history of disgust.
History of technology, history of genetics, genetics and social policy, history of reproduction, history of medical technology, gender and science, medicine, technology
History of health and healing in Africa, contemporary medical practice in Africa,
the content and uses of orally transmitted knowledge, and the place of knowledge about Africa in the social sciences.
History of the human sciences, the sociology of knowledge, and colonial science, development of the human science disciplines in the American university, the justification of colonial settlement in North America, Southern Africa, and the Middle East.
- Gut Feelings and Technical Precision: Thinking about Cystic Fibrosis
- Rational Fog: A social history of weaponized truth — science in the Cold War
- Co-organizer, with Ricardo Santos, of a Wenner-Gren Symposium, 2010, on the comparative history of biological anthropology.
Social and cultural history of U.S. medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries, disability history, war studies, gender studies, as well as the history of bioethics and health care policy.
current projects include:
- The Roots of Rehabilitation: Reconstructing Disabled Soldiers in World War I America (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).
- Globalizing Disability: World War I and the Making of Modern Rehabilitation, co-edited with Heather Perry, Ph.D. (book proposal under review).
- Slouch: The Rise and Fall of American Posture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America (work in progress).
Subaltern Science, ‘Indigenous’ sciences of South Asia
Scientific Temporalities, Vernacularization of ‘Western’ Sciences
His research focuses on the cultural history of science and technology in Europe (especially France) and the USA from 1750 to the present. Particular research interests include the intersections among science, technology, philosophy and the arts; the rhetoric of science in romanticism, modernism and beyond; ritual, religion and experience in technoscience; and the changing formations and effects of the human sciences. In 2009-2010 he was a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Dr. Frances Barg is a medical anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines the interface between culture and illness, specifically as it relates to cancer and to mental illness.
Health and Social Behavior
- Philosophy of Science
- Applied Logic
- Cognitive Science
Dr. Fairman's research focuses on the history of 20th century health care issues pervading contemporary nursing practice. Much of her recent work addresses the relationship between gender, nursing and technology (critical care) and the history of the social construction of professional boundaries (the history of the nurse practitioner movement). This research has been utilized by members of Congress and by other policy-making bodies such as the Ministry of Health of New Zealand. She is currently investigating the influence of the nursing profession on health policy and looking at the role of the patient as health policy advocate. Other work examines the post-World War II history of nursing scholarship and disciplinary development. Dr. Fairman serves as the 2009 IOM/AAN/ANF Scholar in Residence and will work with the RWJ/IOM Commission on Investing in the Future of Nursing.
- Complex chronic conditions
- Family and parent supports
What happens, and at the expense of what else? Actions have consequences, and some hinge on the fact that when one thing happens, other things that could have happened at the same time do not. This is true and important at many levels of analysis, including in face-to-face interaction, where simultaneity limitations are especially obvious. He's explored the implications of this through research on the way in which network relations (like friendship) affect conversational turn-taking; research on the consequences of interruption in adversarial interactional settings; research on the effects of conversational exclusion on discursive options (in group discussions); research on the way in which scheduling decisions mediate between networks and diffusion; and research on media coverage and non-coverage of different sorts of news (e.g., foreign, national). Other interests include theory, micro-spatial dynamics, sequence analysis, and the logic of social research.
Technological change, environmental history, agricultural history 1860-1960
Dr. Kagan's program of clinical research is centered on human experience and illness, with a focus on symptom experience for older adults particularly those who have cancer. Her second book - forthcoming from Penn Press in 2009 - is entitled Cancer in the Lives of Older Americans: Blessings and Battles. Dr. Kagan commonly examines the experience of cancer for older adults through narrative inquiry using head and neck cancer as a model of cancer in older adults. Her current explorations include a collaborative project to understand embodiment in younger and older individuals who have oral tongue cancer. Dr. Kagan welcomes undergraduate students, in particular, as collaborators in her research.
Dr. Kanetsky's research is focused on investigations of inherited genetic variation and its relationship to disease outcomes, in particular cancer development and progression. He is an integral investigator in local and international efforts examining genetic factors for melanoma and testicular germ cell tumors. Dr. Kanetsky also in involved investigation genetic factors an their association with progression of chronic kidney disease.
Dr. Mandell’s research focuses on the organization, financing and delivery of services to children with autism, and provides the basis for the development of interventions at the individual, provider and system levels to decrease the age at which children with autism are recognized and enter treatment, and to improve the services and supports available to them and their families. He is the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) career development award to understand why the diagnosis of autism is so often delayed, and principal investigator on an NIMH-funded study to examine the relationship between states’ policies and their delivery of health services to children with autism.
Dr. Martin most interested in what it is to be a moral agent. She is especially interested in moral deliberation and practical reasoning. In broadest terms, her work examines the relation between practical reasoning and our non-rational faculties, our rationally optional values and commitments, and our capacity to be self-determining or autonomous. She carries out this examination by analyzing the interplay between practical reasoning, non-rational faculties and values, and autonomy in the context of clinical care and research.
- Culture and Communication studies.
- The study of facial features, known as physiognomy, and their relationship to character traits.
- Visual culture; self-fashioning and visual judgment; science and performance; freak shows through history.
His interests include public policy related to environmental health and alternative teaching methods in urban public education.
the history of science, technology and development in India and Bangladesh
Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, social studies of science and technology, globalization, state formation and citizenship, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, and the United States.
Why are social conditions related to health? We've known for many years that social conditions--including education, income, and race/ethnicity--are related to health. It's not always clear, however, why these relationships exist or persist. I'm interested in understanding why social factors are related to health, and focus, in particular, on psychosocial factors, which includes things like stress, personality, and assorted beliefs and perceptions. I'm also interested in how social and genetic factors work in tandem to produce good or bad health. In all my work, I'm interested in both mental and physical health, as I think both are important for understanding the health of a population. Consistent with this, I've explored mortality, disease, and disability, but also anxiety, depressive symptoms, and happiness.
Professor Sorenson has published widely in the epidemiology and prevention of violence, including the areas of homicide, suicide, sexual assault, child abuse, battering, and firearms. A primary focus of her work is how gender, ethnicity, and nativity are related to risk of violence.
- American politics and political thought
- Interest groups, social movements, and public policy
- Politics of food, agriculture, the environment, health, labor, race, education, social welfare and service learning
- American medical profession's negotiations for social and cultural authority, with a special interest in medical-legal interactions
- Development of medical education and training programs in the twentieth century
- Social history of mental illness, particularly the development of forensic psychiatry in the United States
- Traditions of public health provision in the United States
- Policing and accreditation mechanisms for American healers
History and art history, visual and material culture studies, anthropology, the sociology of culture.
Jim’s key research interests are in the history of natural history and biology, from c.1750 to the present, the impact of Darwinism, and in the history of scientific classification. In the UK, he has taught at Cambridge University, University College London and the University of Sussex; topics have included Darwin, classification as a fundamental scientific practice, and utopian novels and cinema.
Thomas Hughes did his graduate work in European History at the University of Virginia, after earlier earning an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in history at "Mr. Jefferson's university." He has published books on American and European history with special attention to the history of modern technology, science, and culture.
- the social relations of Chinese medicine, from a point of view which combines the conceptual tools of history of science with those of cultural and social anthropology and sociology
- intellectual biography of Shen Kua 沈括 (1031-1095)
- translations of key documents for a source book of Chinese science and medicine
- the theoretical structure of alchemy