Science in Human Culture at Northwestern University
SHC logo



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.

• 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:

Steve Epstein
University Hall, Room 025


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.

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 2013-2014 line-up features:

Fall 2013

October 14

Sheila Jasanoff: Kennedy School of Government, Harvard

October 21

Gil Eyal: Sociology, Columbia

October 28

Ruth Rogaski: History, Vanderbilt

November 4

Mariana Craciun: SHC and Sociology, Northwestern

November 11

Daniel Stolz: SHC and History, Northwestern


Winter 2014

January 13

Eszter Hargittai: Media, Technology & Society, Northwestern

January 27--  This visit will be rescheduled to November 10, 2014.

Norton Wise: History, Institute for Society and Genetics, UCLA

February 10

Fa-Ti Fan: History, SUNY-Binghamton

February 17

Michelle Wright: African American Studies, Northwestern

March 3

Jake Kosek: Geography, UC Berkeley


Spring 2014

March 31

Anna Kirkland: Political Science, University of Michigan

April 21

Sara Shostak: Sociology, Brandeis

April 28

Alan Mikhail: History, Yale

May 5

João Biehl: Anthropology, Princeton

May 12

Jeremy Greene: History of Medicine,
Johns Hopkins

• 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, again, to our undergraduate students who successfully wrote honors theses and will also graduate with departmental honors for 2014: Stephanie Hong, Mark Specht, and Chloe Woodhouse!

We are delighted to announce the three co-winners of this year’s SHC Prize for the best undergraduate essay, paper, or thesis:

  • Stephanie Hong, for her honors thesis, “Truth in Advertising? Owning ‘Public Interest’ in Congressional Debates Over Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA)” (Adviser: Mariana Craciun) 
  • Mark Specht, for his honors thesis, “The Moral Philosophies of Scientists” (Adviser: Mark Sheldon) 
  • Chloe Woodhouse, for her honors thesis, “Evaluating Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records: Does EMR Support Doctor-Doctor Communication in Referrals for Surgery?” (Adviser: Steve Epstein)


Congratulations to Stephanie, Mark, and Chloe! Each co-winner will receive a prize of $200. We would also like to convey our appreciation and thanks to the other students who submitted their work for consideration in this competition.


Congratulations to Mark Specht (SHC major, class of 2014), who has been elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honors society.

Congratulations to Cluster Fellow Alka Menon, who has been awarded a Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council. Alka will participate in the dissertation development group focusing on “Making the Biotech Body: Technologies, Knowledge, and Global Markets.” Alka’s project is entitled “Ethnic Cosmetic Surgery and the Biotech Body in Multiethnic Societies.”

Congratulations to SHC cluster fellow
Jaimie Morse, who has been awarded a Northwestern Presidential Fellowship to complete her dissertation! The Presidential Fellowship is described by the university as the most prestigious fellowship awarded by Northwestern. Jaimie’s dissertation, which combines approaches from STS, law and society, and sociology of culture, is entitled “Technologies of Commemoration: Knowledge Production in Documentation of Mass Rape.”

PHOTOS from the Fall 2013 Faculty & Graduate Student Party!

Welcome to new faculty member
Paul Ramírez
, Assistant Professor of History; he studies Mexican public health campaigns in the long nineteenth century.  And to
Laura Pedraza Fariña, who is joining Northwestern as an Assistant Professor of Law; she studies intellectual property and international human rights.  Congratulations also to Tania Munz, who has been appointed Lecturer in Science in Human Culture, and a WCAS College Advisor.

We also welcome two new postdoctoral fellows to SHC.  Mariana Craciun will be affiliated with the Sociology Department; she studies the evaluation of psychiatric treatments in the contemporary U.S.

Daniel Stolz will be affiliated with the History Department; he studies the reception of science in modern-era Islamic cultures, and in Egypt in particular.  Our most recent postdoctoral fellow, Lukas Rieppel, has taken a position as an assistant professor of history at Brown University. 

We are also being joined this year by three new Mellon Foundation cluster graduate fellows in science studies: Chelsea Frazier, Tommy Rousse, and Arielle Tolman

Congratulations to recent Ph.D. recipients Teri Chettiar (History, 2013), now a postdoc at the Max Planck in Berlin; and Anne Koenig (History, 2013) an assistant professor at South Florida.  Our students continue to win grants and prizes: Jaimie Morse received an SSRC grant for 2013-14 for her work on international forensic science and human rights.

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: The Nature of Cities   Jennifer Light
The Nature of Cities: Ecological Visions and the American Urban Professions, 1920-1960
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)
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: Steven Epstein, University Hall, Room 025,
Administrator: Natasha Dennison, University Hall, Room 020,