News Archive


Welcome to New Post-Doctoral Fellows

Diana Kurkovsky West (Princeton PhD, 2013), former director of the STS Center at the University of St. Petersburg, joins the History Department to work on a book on Soviet cybernetics and architectural history. Onur Özgöde (Columbia PhD, 2015), former Research Fellow at Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University, joins the Sociology Department to finish a book on the history of systemic risk in international economics.

Welcome New Graduate Fellows

Four new fellows join SHC’s wider community this year: Dexter Fergie (History); Kaelin Rapport (Anthropology); McKenzie Stupica (Art History); and Adam Syvertsen (English).

Congratulations to Faculty Affiliates

Adia Benton, assistant professor in Anthropology, has received the 2017 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science for her book, HIV Exceptionalism: Development Through Disease in Sierra Leone (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). Pablo Boczkowski, Professor of Communication Studies, has co-edited, with C.W. Anderson, Remaking the News: Essays on the Future of Journalism Scholarship in the Digital Age (MIT Press, 2017). Daniel Immerwahr has been granted tenure in the History Department and won an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for 2017-18 to work on his new book, How to Hide an Empire.

Congratulations to Undergrad Affiliates

Rui Zhou (SHC advisory board rep, 2016-17) has been accepted to UCLA where he will undertake a PhD in political theory.



Welcome to New Colleagues

Science in Human Culture is delighted to welcome to campus Adia Benton, new faculty in Anthropology and the Program in African Studies; and Michael Rodriguez, a new member of the Sociology Department. We are also excited to welcome Hi'ilei Hobart, a new postdoctoral fellow who works in indigenous studies and food cultures and is jointly appointed to the Kaplan Institute and SHC; and Mitali Thakor, a new postdoctoral fellow with the Sexualities Program at Northwestern (SPAN) who will share SHC office space in University Hall.

Welcome to New Graduate Students

Three new cluster fellows join SHC's wider community this year as well: Colin Bos in History, Austin Jenkins in Sociology, and Benjamin Riggs in Screen Cultures.

Buffett Institute "Big Ideas" Grant to Faculty Affiliates

SHC is thrilled to announce a new faculty initiative on "Global Medical Cultures and Law" that was selected to receive a three-year Buffett Institute "Big Ideas" grant. Activities begin this year with Klopsteg talks and "incubator" seminars in fall and winter with, respectively, Mark Harrison, director of Oxford University's Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, and Linda Barnes, medical anthropologist and professor of family medicine at Boston University. In the spring, SHC will co-sponsor a dialogue event featuring Johanna Gibson of Queen Mary University London and John Comaroff of Harvard University on May 5th, with the Kaplan Institute, on "Debt, Traditional Knowledge, and Cultural Property," and will host a two-day conference on May 6-7 on "Medical Cultures, Traditions, and Law."

Buffett Institute Conference Grant to Grad Affiliates

Congratulations to three SHC graduate affiliates - Savina Balasubramanian, Kevin Baker, and Omri Tubi - who submitted a successful grant proposal to the Buffett Institute for a spring conference on "Science and Technology in Global Affairs."

New Graduate and Undergraduate Leaders

SHC thanks graduate cluster fellows, Alka Menon and Jaimie Morse, who will be taking the lead on the doctoral colloquium for 2016-17; and its undergraduate majors, Rui Zhou and Jordan Villanueva, who were selected to serve as this year's Student Advisory Board Representatives to the Dean's Office.




    Erik Baker’s
    SHC honors thesis project, “Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi: Credibility, Consensus, and Concern in the History of the Origins of AIDS,” has been awarded the SHC Essay Prize for 2016. Erik’s work was also accepted for presentation at the NU Undergraduate Research Expo. The Expo will be held on June 1st with Erik's panel taking place between 1:00- 2:30 pm in the Arch Room, Norris Center. Erik will be starting the History of Science PhD program at Harvard University in the fall.


    Jaimie Morse
    has been awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17 to complete her dissertation, “Documenting Mass Rape: The Emergence and Implications of Medical Evidence Collection Techniques in Settings of Armed Conflict and Mass Violence.

    Alka Menon and Margarita Rayzberg have both been awarded Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants from the Science, Technology, and Society program of the NSF. Alka’s dissertation is “Constructing the Ethnic Body: Race and Social Identity in Cosmetic Surgery in Multiethnic Societies,” and Margarita’s is “Controlling the Field: The History and Contemporary Practices of Social Experimentation in International Development.”

    Kevin Baker has been selected as the Charles Babbage Institute's Adelle and Erwin Tomash Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year in support of his dissertation project on the history of computer simulation models and international development policies.

    Margarita Rayzberg has been awarded a grant from the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy to complete her dissertation. On top of their regular grant, Margarita was selected as their annual Robert K. Merton awardee “for the most outstanding project in Theory and Practice.”


    Science in Human Culture welcomes five new faculty affiliates this fall. They are Lydia Barnett in the History department; Adia Benton in Anthropology; Anto Mohsin in NU-Qatar's Liberal Arts department; Michael Rodriguez in Sociology; and Kelly Wisecup in English. SHC is also joined this year by two new postdoctoral fellows: Stefanie Graeter in Anthropology and Fred Meiton in History.

    Three new science studies cluster fellows also join SHC's ranks this year: Mallory Fallin and Omri Tubi in Sociology and Rachel Wallner in History.
  • CONGRATULATIONS TO SHC's FACULTY AFFILIATES for their new books, fellowships and awards:

    Steve Epstein
    , Professor of Sociology and John C. Shaffer Professor in the Humanities, will be a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2016-17, working on a project called “Sexual Health as Buzzword: Histories of Emergence and Politics of Proliferation.”

    Héctor Carrillo, Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies, is one of the cohort of seven scholars chosen as the 2016-2017 Fellows for the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. During the fellowship year, Carrillo will further his research project, “The Paradox of Sexual Identities.”

    Historian Ken Alder, studies identity at the intersection of science and law, has been featured in the Northwestern Research.

    Mariana Craciun
     for her two-year NSF postdoctoral award, which should allow her to complete her book manuscript, Chasing Freud's Dream: Psychoanalysis Between Science and Emotion.

    Scott Curtis for his new book, The Shape of Spectatorship: Art, Science, and Early Cinema in Germany (Columbia University Press, 2015).

    Steve Epstein for his Senior Faculty Fellowship at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities for 2015-16.

    Gary Fine for his new book, Players and Pawns: How Chess Builds Community and Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

    Sandy Goldberg for his new book, Assertion: On the Philosophical Significance of Assertoric Speech (Oxford University Press, 2015).

    Daniel Immerwahr for his new book, Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development (Harvard University Press, 2015) and his NEH Fellowship at the Huntington Library to work on his current book, How to Hide an Empire.

    Sylvester Johnson for his new book, African American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2015).



    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 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.
  • CONGRATULATIONS TO SHC's FACULTY AFFILIATES for their new books, fellowships and awards:

    Joel Mokyr
     for the International Balzan Prize in Economic History (~ $750,000), "for his pioneering connection of economics and history with evolutionary and epistemological theory and the development of knowledge and technology."

    Helen Tilley for her NSF Scholars Award for her book project on African decolonization, the law, and traditional medicine.

    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.
  • CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATE STUDENTS for their publications, prizes, and jobs:

    Catherine Clepper for publishing her book chapter, “Odorated Symphonies: Experiments with Smell in Post-Sound American Cinema,” in Techniques and Technologies: Modalities of Film throughout History, eds. André Gaudreault and Martin Lefebvre (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015).

    Chelsea Frazier for being selected to receive a $5,000 fellowship from the Alumnae Association of Barnard College (AABC) and for being awarded the Richard Iton Second Year Paper Award for her essay, "Troubling Ecology: Wangechi Mutu, Octavia Butler & Black Feminist Interventions in Environmentalism."

    Jaimie Morse for publishing her article, "Documenting Mass Rape: Medical Evidence Collection Techniques as Humanitarian Technology," Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 8 (2014): Iss. 3: 63-79.

    Cassidy Puckett for completing her PhD and securing a post as Assistant Professor in Sociology at Emory University.

    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.


  • Congratulations, again, to our undergraduate students who successfully wrote honors theses and will also graduate with departmental honors for 2014: Stephanie HongMark 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.”
  • 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 FrazierTommy 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.


  • Paul Ramírez will be joining our faculty as an Assistant Professor of History. Paul is a historian of Mexico who works on public health campaigns in the long 19th century.
  • Laura Pedraza Fariña will be joining our faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Law School. Laura is a J.D. with a Ph.D. in molecular biology and is interested in international human rights and intellectual property.
  • Mariana Craciun will be an SHC postdoc, affiliated with the Sociology Department and working on the validation of psychotherapies in the US.
  • Daniel Stolz will be an SHC postdoc, affiliated with the History Department and working on the reception/adaptation of science in 19th-century Islamic cultures, especially Egypt.
  • Congratulations to Jaimie Morse for SSRC Fellowship for 2013-14, for her project on forensic science in the context of international human rights investigations.
  • Steve Epstein will be returning to campus as the director of SHC for 2013-14


  • Congratulations to former SHC Postdoctoral Fellow Tom Waidzunas, who will begin a tenure-track position in the Sociology department at Temple University in the fall of 2012.
  • Congratulations to former graduate student cluster affiliate Bernard Geoghegan (School of Communication, Ph.D. 2012), who has begun a three-year postdoctoral/Mitarbeiter fellowship at Humboldt University in Berlin. His essay, "From Information Theory to French Theory: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, and the Cybernetic Apparatus" (forthcoming in Critical Inquiry), won the Schachterle Essay Prize from the Society For Literature, Science and the Arts for "the best new essay on literature and science written in English by a nontenured scholar."
  • Congratulations to graduate student cluster affiliate Ignacio Siles, whose paper, "From online filter to Web format: Articulating materiality and meaning in the early history of blogs," received the Hacker-Mullins Student Paper Award from the Science, Knowledge, & Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. Ignacio's paper was published in 2011 in the journal Social Studies of Science.
  • Congratulations to graduate student cluster affiliate Lisa-Jo van den Scott, who has been awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, and whose paper, "Mundane Technology: A Case Study of the Introduction of Permanent Walls to the Inuit of Arviat, Nunavut, Canada," received the Brent K. Marshall Student Paper Award from the Environment and Technology Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
  • Congratulations to graduate student cluster affiliate Jessica Koski, who was awarded the Sociology department's Karpf Prize for her dissertation project, "Human Rights and the Warming World: Investigating the Use and Impact of Social Knowledge Claims in the Climate Debate."
  • Congratulations to graduate student cluster affiliate Kati Sweaney, whose article, "'The Most Famous Brain the World': Performance and Pedagogy on an Amnesiac's Brain" was published in Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies.
  • Congratulations to our two undergraduate students who successfully wrote honors theses and graduated with honors in 2012: Emily Gao ("Race, Health, and Disability Identity: Using Photovoice to explore the health of Asian American adults with visually identifiable disabilities," advised by Kearsley Stewart) and Cari Romm ("'A Place Like This to Share How I Feel': Negotiating Stigma in Narratives of Abortion," advised by Steven Epstein).
  • Congratulations to the two SHC Undergraduate Paper Prize winners for 2012: Cari Romm for her SHC honors thesis, "'A Place Like This to Share How I Feel': Negotiating Stigma in Narratives of Abortion," and Chloe Woodhouse for her essay, "The Sexual Psychopath: Psychiatry and Law in the Treatment of Sex Offenders from 1930-1960."
  • Thanks to our departing (and graduating) Weinberg Student Advisory Board representatives, Kellie Perkins and Victoria King, for their service. Our new SAB reps for 2012-13 will be Amy Mangum and Chloe Woodhouse.