Science in Human Culture at Northwestern University
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The Science in Human Culture Program at Northwestern builds upon the well-established field of science studies, an interdisciplinary field that brings the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences to bear on developments in science, medicine, and technology. At SHC, faculty from across campus work with postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate majors and minors to study science and its allied fields as defining features of modern societies.


SHC offers undergraduates an adjunct major and minor field, where they confront the impact of science, medicine, and technology on society—and on their own lives.

• SHC welcomes graduate students, including applicants to its cluster initiative in science studies as well as current students who wish to affiliate with the program. Students attend the doctoral colloquium on Mondays that do not feature a Klopsteg lecture.

Search for 2015-2016 fellows is now closed.  The deadline was December 1, 2014.
SHC offers two concurrent two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the contextual study of science, technology, or medicine.

For questions about the program please contact:

Program Director:
Helen Tilley
University Hall, Room 025

WQ 2015 office hours | M 10:00am - 12:00pm


Program Administrator:
Natasha Dennison
Science in Human Culture
University Hall, Room 020
Northwestern University
1897 Sheridan Rd.
Evanston, IL 60208-2245
tel: 847-491-3525
fax: 847-467-2733
For directions to our offices, click here.

Office hours | M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Student Advisory Board (SAB) Representatives:

Anna Cassell and Didi Stephanie Odinkemelu

Klopsteg Lecture Series

SHC invites faculty and students to attend its regular Klopsteg lecture series on select Mondays from 4-5:30pm in University Hall 201. The 2014-2015 line-up features:

Fall 2014

September 29

GEORGE STEINMETZ: Sociology, Univ of Michigan

October 13

MORANA ALAC: Communication and Science Studies, UC San Diego

October 27

JAVIER LEZAUN: Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford

November 10

NORTON WISE: History, Institute for Society and Genetics, UCLA

November 17

SHEILA WILLE: AKIH, History, and EPC, Northwestern University

Winter 2015

January 26

KATJA GUENTHER: History, Princeton University

February 16

MATTHEW KOPEC: Philosophy, Northwestern Univ

February 23

LAURA PEDRAZA-FARIÑA: Law, Northwestern Univ

March 2

EDEN MEDINA: Informatics and Computing & History, Indiana University

March 9

JAMES DELBOURGO: History, Rutgers University


Spring 2015

May 4

STEVEN SHAPIN: History of Science, Harvard Univ

SPECIAL EVENT: May 8-9 |The Second Midwest Regional Science and Technology Studies Conf

"Making Knowledge and the Problem of Place:
A Midwest Conference for Science and Technology Studies"

featuring keynote speaker:
: Anthropology, U Penn

"What is a Horizon? Extinction and Borrowed Time amid Climate Change"

• The first Midwestern STS conference—"Facts, Artifacts, and the Politics of Consensus"— featuring keynote speaker Naomi Oreskes, drew 16 panelists and over 100 attendees from more than a dozen colleges and universities to Northwestern University on May 4-5, 2012. PHOTO GALLERY.


Congratulations to Mark Specht ( SHC Honors, 2014) one of a near-record 27 Northwestern recipients of the prestigious Fulbright Award for 2014-2015 who is currently in New Zealand to explore the ethical considerations associated with the "pest-free" plan.

explores the ethical considerations associated with the “pest-free” plan - See more at:
explores the ethical considerations associated with the “pest-free” plan - See more at:
explores the ethical considerations associated with the “pest-free” plan - See more at:
explores the ethical considerations associated with the “pest-free” plan - See more at:
explores the ethical considerations associated with the “pest-free” plan - See more at:


Anna Cassell's thought-provoking op-ed piece based on her senior research in Science in Human Culture as well as her personal experiences with sports and concussions was published in the Chicago Tribune December 2014. Congratulations, Anna!

Congratulations to Gary Fine for his 2014-2015 Fellowship from the School of Social Science Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Congratulations to Sandy Zabell who was elected to the Washington, DC Department of Forensic Science Advisory Board, 2014.

Congratulations to Rebecca Seligman for her new book Possessing Spirits and Healing Selves: Embodiment and Transformation in an Afro-Brazilian Religion (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014) and Lawrence Lipking for his book What Galileo Saw: Imagining the Scientific Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2014).

Congratulations to SHC director,Helen Tilley, whose book Africa as a Living Laboratory (University of Chicago Press, 2011), won the 2014 Ludwik Fleck Prize for the best book in science and technology studies by the Social Studies of Science Society.

SHC thanks Cluster Fellow, Adam Plaiss, for his service as the doctoral colloquium coordinator in 2013-14 and congratulates SHC Fellow, Alka Menon, the coordinator for 2014-15.

Welcome to new faculty member Lina Britto, Assistant Professor of History; she studies the history of narcotics culture, trade, and policy in Colombia. And to Keith Woodhouse, Assistant Professor of History; he studies the history of radical environmentalism in the U.S. SHC also welcomes new faculty affiliate Rebecca Seligman who studies transcultural psychiatry in northeastern Brazil and mental health disparities among Mexican Americans.

We are also being joined this year by two new cluster graduate fellows in science studies:

Sandra Racek and Emma Bennett Jones.

SHC affiliates should enjoy taking part in the interdisciplinary Sawyer Seminar conferences on "social epistemology" in the fall, winter, and spring of this year. 

For other news about faculty and students, look here.

Selected faculty publications

Book cover: The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession   Ken Alder
The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession
(Bison Books, 2009)
  Pablo Boczkowski
The News Gap: When the Information Preferences of the Media and the Public Diverge
(MIT Press, 2013)
  Charles Camic
(with N. Gross
and M. Lamont)
Social Knowledge
in the Making

(University of Chicago
Press, 2011)
Book cover: Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research   Steven Epstein
Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research
(University of Chicago Press, 2007)
  Gary Fine
Sticky Reputations:
The Politics of
Collective Memory in Midcentury America

(Routledge, 2012)
  Book cover: In Praise of Chickens  

Jane Smith
In Praise of Chickens: A Compendium of Wisdom Fair and Fowl
(Lyons Press, 2011)

Book cover: In Praise of Chickens  

Helen Tilley
Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950 (University of Chicago Press, 2011)

Northwestern University Logo
Science in Human Culture, 020 University Hall, 1897 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208
tel: 847-491-3525 | fax: 847-467-2733
Director: Helen Tilley, University Hall, Room 025,
Administrator: Natasha Dennison, University Hall, Room 020,