Janice and Julian Bers Professor of History and Sociology of Science

364 Claudia Cohen Hall
By appt.




Ph.D., Cornell University
M.S., Cornell University
B.S., University of Texas at Austin

Lindee has been  Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore;  Visiting Professor, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC), Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan;  Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences; Department Chair, and Chair of the Board of the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, which successfully matched its NEH challenge grant under her chairmanship and which has a new endowment.  She is Diversity Search Adviser for the Social Sciences in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences.  In November 2017 she was Ship’s Historian for a Lindblad Cruise of the Galapagos Islands, and she returned to the Galapagos in June 2019 to present lectures as a participant in Penn’s Galapagos Alliance.  Her new book, Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War, appeared from Harvard University Press in Fall 2020.  Her new edited volume with Warwick Anderson, “Pacific Biologies: How Humans Become Genetic,” appeared in December 2020 in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences.

Research Interests

Genetics and genomics
Cold War science
Warfare and science

Selected Work

New book:

Rational Fog: Science and Technology in Modern War. 2020. Harvard University Press.

New edited volume with Warwick Anderson

Pacific Biologies: How Humans Become Genetic:

Scholarly Commons Page 

"Survivors and Scientists: Hiroshima, Fukushima and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, 1975-2014." Social Studies of Science Vol. 46.2 (2016): 184-2014. [article pdf attached below]

“Human genetics after the bomb: Archives, clinics, proving grounds and board rooms"   2016 Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 55: 45-53.

"Patrons of the Human Experience: A History of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 1941-2016," co-authored with Joanna Radin.  Current Anthropology Vol. 57, Supplement 14 (October 2016): S218-S301. [article pdf attached below]

Santos, R.V.; Lindee, S. and Souza, V.S. "Varieties of the primitive: Human biological diversity studies in Cold War Brazil (1962-1970)." American Anthropologist, December 2014.  With commentary by Jonathan Marks and Lila Moritz Schwarcz. “In Focus: Culture, Politics and Imagined  Genetic Communities in Brazil” Vol. 116.4: 723-745.    

“Performing anger: H.J. Muller, James V. Neel, and radiation risk.”  In Bernd Gausemeier, Staffan Muller-Wille and Edmund Ramsden, eds., Human Heredity in the Twentieth Century.  2013, London, Pickering and Chatto, 205-215.   

“Map Your Own Genes: The DNA Experience.” 2013,  In Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber, ed., Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense  Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 186-200.

 “The Biological Anthropology of Living Human Populations: World Histories, National Styles and International Networks,”  Co-editor, with the Brazilian anthropologist Ricardo Ventura Santos of a special issue bsed on our March 2010 conference.  Current Anthropology Vol. 53, Supplement 5 (2012): S3-S16.  [article pdf attached below]

Susan Lindee and Rebecca Mueller, 2011. Is Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Medicine’s canary?  Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Vol. 54, No. 2, Summer 2011, pp.  316-331.

“Experimental Wounds: Science and Violence in Mid-Century America” 2011. In Susan Smith, ed., “Health Legacies:  Militarization, Health, and Society” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, v. 39.1: 8-20.   

Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine 2005  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 

Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two Culture Divide With Alan Goodman and Deborah Heath, edited volume from a Wenner-Gren Foundation Symposium.  University of California Press, 2003. 

The DNA mystique: The gene as a cultural icon with Dorothy Nelkin.  2004. New edition, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.  Originally, 1995, New York: W.H. Freeman.  Translations: Japanese, 1997; French 1998. 

Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.  

Teaching Fields

history of genetics
gender and science
science and popular culture
science and war


Courses Taught

Spring 2021 Course on Global Radiation Risk:

Global Radiation History: Living in
the Atomic Age 1945-Present
(STSC 316)
Dr. M. Susan Lindee
History and Sociology of Science
Students will engage with broad experiences of radiation risk
since 1945, of Navajo uranium miners, scientists producing and
testing nuclear weapons, physicians studying those exposed to
radiation, Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings and of
the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and others. Students will work
together with a variety of stakeholders to come to understand the
impact of the atomic bombs, the rise of nuclear energy, and the
continuing legacies of radiation exposure and risk today.



Faculty Bookshelf