From time to time on this page, we will profile individual department faculty and their recent activities. For fall 2014, we introduce Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology Alison Cool.
Alison Cool’s work focuses on medical anthropology and the anthropology of science and technology, and her primary research interests concern the relationships between genetic and economic approaches to behavior and the politics of the Swedish welfare state. More broadly, her research interests include the anthropology of Scandinavia; anthropology of science, medicine, and technology; science policy; expertise; economics; life sciences; twin studies; global data circulation; and cultural understandings of privacy and surveillance. At Harvey Mudd, her course offerings are “Cultures of Expertise: Science, Power, and Knowledge” (fall 2014) and “Anthropology of Biomedicine” (spring 2015).
She received her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from New York University in 2013. Her dissertation, “Translating Twins: Twin Research and the Production of Genetic and Economic Knowledge in the Swedish Welfare State,” was based on ethnographic fieldwork in Sweden with interdisciplinary networks of researchers who use twin studies to investigate genetic and environmental influences on social and economic behavior. This project was supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council, National Science Foundation, and Fulbright IIE, with additional training and support from the European Neuroscience and Society Network (ENSN) Neuroschool program, the Foreign Language Area Studies program, and the Brocher Foundation.