Skip to main content

2020-2021 News

June 9, 2021

Dear SHC Colleagues and Students,

What a long, strange year it's been.  A year that none of us will forget.  I hope that you have found some saving graces amid the dire emergencies.  For me, among those graces this past year has been the Science in Human Culture program.… 

Over the past 15 months, we've welcomed a dozen superb Klopsteg lecturers on Zoom: several dedicated to the dynamic field of South Asian science, others who examined such topics as environmentalism, transgender chronopolitics, global oranges, and surveillance along the Mexican-American border, plus our session last spring on comparative pandemics..., all of them attentive to the making and unmaking of epistemic categories which is what makes science studies such a compelling field of inquiry. 

We have also had energetic discussions this past year in our doctoral colloquium, organized by our graduate coordinator Clay Davis, and which included an illuminating panel this winter by three of our former grad students on their post-Ph.D. careers beyond academia, plus a how-to-publish session with the editor of SSS and workshops on students’ draft articles. 

Well, that's all behind us now.  What about the future?  As I announced at the year's final Klopsteg lecture on May 17, my three-year term of director of SHC comes to an end this summer, so this is my last news update in this capacity, hence the following news and thanks:

I am delighted to report that deans have appointed our colleague, Paul Ramírez (History) to be SHC's new director starting September 1, 2021.  Paul has some interesting new directions he wants to take the program, and I am excited for that.  A heads up that the format for the Klopsteg talks in the fall quarter remains undetermined, although we hope to return to in-person visits as soon as practical.

In September we will also be joined by two new postdoctoral fellows: Tess Lanzarotta (2018 Ph.D. History, Yale), a historian of indigenous health and medical practices in colonial Alaska..., and Santiago Molina (2021 Ph.D. Sociology, UC-Berkeley), a scholar of genetic constructions of ethnic identity among Latin Americans and of the new genomics of CRISPR.  We will also be joined by an incoming graduate cluster fellow, Phoebe Pan, who has an interest in early modern literature and will be a Ph.D. candidate in English.  I thank the search committee for their work on making these selections: Lydia Barnett, Steve Epstein, Wendy Espeland, and Helen Tilley. 

I should note that our current postdoctoral fellow, Sarah Carson, will complete her two-year term in August 2021.  I am pleased to add that she has been accepted a position at Northwestern as a Visiting Assistant Professor for 2021-22, when she will teach courses for the History Department, so we will continue to see her around campus. 

I would also like to thank our amazing DUS James Schwoch for his three years of exemplary service, the last and final year of which was truly heroic!  The undergrad program continues to thrive with some 50 adjunct majors and minors.

Finally, I would like to thank Janet Hundrieser for her gracious and able help in administering the SHC program this past year.  Nothing has been easy during a period of fluctuating rules and managerial reversals; but Janet has kept everything on track, and I, for one, am enormously grateful.

So, I wish everyone a good end of the quarter/year, an excellent summer away from your screens, and a happy return to a more familiar academic world in September 2021.  And in the meantime, get in touch if you have questions/concerns.

Ken Alder

Faculty News

Ken Alder (History) will be a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2021-22.

Lydia Barnett (History) will be a Dibner fellow at the Huntington Library in Pasadena in 2021-22.

Adia Benton (Anthropology) will be a fellow at the Kaplan Humanities Institute at Northwestern in 2021-22.

Pablo Boczkowski (SoC) published his book, Abundance: On the Experience of Living in a World of Information Plenty, with Oxford University Press in 2021.

Lina Britto (History) will be a fellow at the Kaplan Humanities Institute at Northwestern in 2021-22.

Gary Fine (Sociology) published his book, The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures and the Power of Local Commitments, with the University of Chicago Press in 2021.

Sandy Goldberg (Philosophy) published his book, Conversational Pressure: Normativity in Speech Exchanges, with Oxford University Press in 2020.

Daniel Immerwahr (History) won the Weinberg College Le Roy Teaching Award for 2019-20, which was awarded this year.

Santiago Molina (in-coming postdoc in Sociology) has just been elected to the Council of the Science, Knowledge, and Technology section of the American Sociology Association, and also serves on the ad-hoc committee on anti-racist action in that section.

Paul Ramírez (History) won a Weinberg distinguished faculty teaching award for 2019-20, which was awarded this year.

Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz (Sociology) is next month publishing his book, Figures of the Future: Latino Civil Rights and the Politics of Demographic Change with Princeton University Press.  He has also just been elected to the Council of the Science, Knowledge, and Technology section of the American Sociology Association.

Helen Tilley (History) will be on leave at Cambridge University in 2021-22, affiliated with the Lauterpecht Center for International Law.  Also, her edited volume with Osiris (2021) will appear this month: Therapeutic Properties: Global Medical Cultures, Knowledge, and Law.

Sepehr Vakil (SESP) won a Faculty Early Career Award from the NSF in 2019 for his multi-year, on-going project on the intersection of technology and equity; the grant complements his on-going Spencer Grant on the experiences of students of color in engineering education.

Graduate Student News

Chernoh Bah (History) has been awarded a Chabraja Center Breen Graduate Fellowship for 2021-22.

Colin Bos (History) has an article, "John Augustus Abayomi Cole and the Search for an African Science, 1885-1898," accepted for publication in Isis.

Bennett Jones (History) won a Chabraja Center Teaching Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2021-22.

Jayson Porter (History) won the graduate teaching award from Weinberg College for 2019-20, which was awarded this year.

Arielle Tolman (Sociology) was awarded her Ph.D. in 2021 for her dissertation, “Prosecuting Prisoners: Criminalization of Incarcerated People in an Era of Psychiatric Deinstitutionalization.”  She also had two articles accepted for publication, and will be clerking for Judge William Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District in 2021-22.

Vincent Yung (Sociology) was awarded his Ph.D. in 2020 with a dissertation entitled, “From the History of Network Visualization, Indicators of Interdisciplinarity, to the Career of Metaphor: Formal and Computational Methods and the Illumination of Patterns Otherwise Unknowable."  Vincent also has an article published in Poetics, and in 2021-22 will be taking up an NSF postdoc at SESP working with Jeannette Colyvas.

September 11, 2020

Dear Science in Human Culture (SHC) colleagues and students,

Welcome “back” to a new academic year; one which will have its share of uncertainties and challenges, no question; but one which we hope will also be intellectually engaging.

I have some good news about the program to report (amid all the bad news in the world):

SHC will begin searching this year for two 2-year postdoctoral fellows to begin on September 1, 2021. We are delighted by this sign of the administration’s commitment to our intellectual/research mission during this challenging financial period. The job ad is about to go up on our website and other job-boards.

Several of our faculty were promoted this past year.

Lydia Barnett (History), promoted to associate professor with tenure.

Lina Britto (History), promoted to associate professor with tenure.

Daniel Immerwahr (History), promoted to full professor.

A heart-warming number of postdoctoral fellows and PhD’s scored new jobs/positions (and if you have others to report, please let me know):

Madi Pape is now a three-year postdoc at the University of Lausanne (Switz.).

Stephanie Graeter is now Asssistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Onur Ozgode is now a postdoc in Harvard’s program on Science, Technology, and Society

Jessica Biddlestone is now an academic advisor at the University of Chicago

Margarita Rayzberg is a postdoc at Harvard’s program on Science, Technology, and Society.

We also welcome back our SHC postdoc, Sarah Carson (History), plus three new graduate cluster fellows and one affliate in Science Studies:

John Branch (History)

Gerpha Gerlin (Anthropology)

Andrew Kim (Anthropology)

Gabriel Restrepo (Spanish and Portuguese)

Our programming this year will include both Klopsteg talks and the doctoral colloquium. All events will take place at the usual time on Mondays, 4:30-6pm…, and yes, they will be zoomed….

The first meeting of the doctoral colloquium will take place on Sept. 21. At this important meeting, our in-coming science studies coordinator, Clay Davis (Soc, G2), will lead students in a discussion of what the group wants to do this quarter/year. Grad students should make every effort to attend.

We currently have 3 scheduled Klopsteg Lectures for the Fall quarter (though we may one more). All are fabulous scholars whose talks we had to postpone from last Spring. More info and zoom coordinates to be shared nearer time:

October 26: Etienne Benson (Penn): Environmentalis Movement

November 2: Sokhieng Au (Iowa): Public health in Southeast Asia

November 16: Victoria Pitts-Taylor (Wesleyan): Gender and Science 

We also alert you to SHC’s two co-sponsored zoom-talks this quarter.

With Neurobiology: Tuesday, November 17: David J. Linden (Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins) “The Science of Individuality”

With One Book, One Northwestern: Thursday, October 15: Liza Mundy, “Code Girls.”

As always, please feel free to reach out electronically to me or our administrator, Janet Hundrieser, if you have any questions or concerns. I realize that this is a busy and somewhat fraught time of year. I wish you the very best re-entry to the academic year.