news & events

August 14: Awarded 2017 Star-Nelkin Prize from American Sociological Association’s section on Science, Knowledge and Technology, which honors the best article published in the previous two years, for “Making up ‘Vulnerable’ People: Human Subjects and the Subjective Experience of Medical Experiment,”Making up ‘Vulnerable’ People: Human Subjects & the Subjective Experience of Experiment” 28(4) Social History of Medicine, 2015 (825-848) co-authored with Nancy Campbell.

August 12: Organized session “Classification as a Social Process” for the American Sociological Association annual meeting, Montreal, CA.

July 1: Finished two-year post as co-convenor of the Consortium for the History of Science, Medicine, & Technology‘s “Working Group on History & Theory” with Professor Suman Seth (Cornell).

June 9: Presented “Working definitions: How the US NIH read political economy into the normal human body” at the Wellcome Trust (UK) workshop on Bioscience and the Politics of the Human, London, UK.

May 18-19: Organized interdisciplinary workshop “Writing as Historical Practice” for special issue of History & Theory, at the Robert Penn Warren Center, Nashville, TN.

May 3-5: Served on Local Arrangements Committee for the annual meeting of American Association for History of Medicine, Nashville, TN.

April 19: Broadcast interview on the New Books Network with author Grace Davie about Poverty Knowledge in South Africa: A Social History of Human Science, 1855-2005 with graduate students in course, “Social Studies of Science, Medicine & Technology.”

April 18: Broadcast interview on the New Books Network with author Amit Prasad about Imperial Technosicence: Transnational Histories of MRI in the United States, Britain, and India with graduate students in course, “Social Studies of Science, Medicine & Technology.”

April 12: Hosted Professor Amit Prasad (University of Missouri) for public lecture, “Miracle Cures, Journeys of Hope, and a Cutting-Edge Science: Embryonic Stem Cell Research and therapy in a Clinic in India” at Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Nashville, TN.

March 15: Congratulated newly elected officers of the American Sociological Association’s section on Science, Knowledge and Technology as chair of the Nominations Committee.

Feb 15: Published “Work, welfare, and the values of voluntarism: Rethinking Anscombe’s ‘action under a description’ in postwar markets for human subjects” in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology.

Jan 7: Interviewed on the radio program, Your Health, about the past and future of research regulation. The interview starts at minute 9.


Dec 12: Published “Out of their depths: ‘Moral kinds’ and the interpretation of evidence in Foucault’s modern episteme” in History & Theory.

Dec 2: Discussed “Rethinking the history of research methods: Beyond the objectivity-subjectivity debates” at The History of Postwar Social Sciences colloquium, London School of Economics.

Nov 30: Broadcast interview on the New Books Network with author Ruth Rogaski about Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty Port China with students in course, The History of Global Health.

Nov 5: Elected President of the Forum for the History of the Human Sciences.

Nov 4: Presented “Exceptional bodies & ‘normal science’: Coal miners as ‘normal controls’ in NIH psychotropic drug studies” at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society, Atlanta, GA.

September 15: Published “Clinical trials, healthy controls, and the birth of the IRB” in the New England Journal of Medicine with co-author Jeremy Greene.

August 19: Published a review of Luke Dittrich’s new book, Patient HM, in the journal Science.

August 18: Presented “The value of free time: Justice, politics and the market for human subjects,” at the American Sociological Association annual meeting, Seattle, WA.

August 17: Announced winners of Robert K. Merton Book Prize as chair of the prize committee: Natasha Myers for Rendering Life Molecular and honorable mention Claire Decoteau for Ancestors and Antiretrovirals.

June 11: Published “The unintended ethics of Henry K Beecher” in The Lancet.

May 25: Awarded a Research Scholar Grant from Vanderbilt University for “A New History of ‘Human Guinea Pigs’: Creating the Postwar Market for Human Subjects.”

May 5: Gave Annual Hudson Lecture, University of Kansas Medical Center, “Witnessing medicine: The people and policies that created the postwar market for ‘human subjects.'”

May 3: Gave Annual Bodemer Lecture, University of Washington Medical School, “Why go first? The past and future of research on humans.”

May 1: Gave panel lecture, “How to Make a Classic: Henry K. Beecher at 50” at the annual meeting of American Association for the History of Medicine.

April 30: Appointed to Editorial Board of Lexington Books, Health Communication Series.

April 20: Broadcast interview with David Grazian, author of American Zoo, on New Books in Sociology (with students “Healing Animals”).

March 31: Awarded the 2016 Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching.

March 31: Gave invited lecture at the Cleveland Clinic, “Who is ‘vulnerable’? Clinical research after the Common Rule.”

March 30: Gave invited lecture at Cleveland State University, “The past and future of human research regulation: Principles, procedures, and the changing nature of truth.”

March 21: Gave invited lecture at Middle Tennessee State University on theme of the value of a liberal education: “Educating the student body: What biomedicine learned from the liberal arts.”

March 17: Published “The Language of Ethics: How Ethics Review Creates Inequalities for Language Minorities in Research,” in The Ethics Rupture: Exploring Alternatives to Formal Research-Ethics Review (van den Hoonaard & Hamilton, eds.) University of Toronto Press.

February 29: Gave invited lecture at Yale University Medical School: “What are ‘total institutions’? Creating a global market for human subjects in the age of Henry K. Beecher.”

February 21: Interviewed on Australia National Radio for program on “human guinea pigs, clinical trials and big business.”

February 8: Presented “Logics of service” in the Vanderbilt History Seminar 2015-16 series, “The Politics of Religion.”

December 15: Published a review of Gary Belkin’s new book, Death before Dying, in Bulletin of the History of Medicine.

December 1: Published “Can New Media Save the Book?,” an essay on the New Books Network, in Contexts magazine.

November 27: Published a review of Rebecca Lemov’s new book, Database of Dreams, in Science Magazine.

November 25: Broadcast an interview with Nick Hopwood, author of Haeckel’s Embryos, on New Books in History (with grad students in “New Approaches to STS”).

November 21: Presented “Bureaucracy” at panel on Invisible Labor at the History of Science Society annual meeting in San Francisco.

November 24: Broadcast an interview with Dan Bouk, author of How Our Days Became Numbered, on New Books in STS (with grad students in “New Approaches to STS”).

November 5: Presented in expert panel at the federal town hall meeting on proposed changes to the Common Rule (human-subjects research regulations), Chicago, IL.

October 23: Presented “IRBs and their critics,” on the proposed federal changes to human-subjects regulations, in the Vanderbilt Clinical & Translational Research lecture series.

September 28: Wrote a history of “critical incidents” and research ethics in psychology for Hidden Persuaders.

September 14: Reviewed Kirk and Pemberton’s book Leech on Aesop’s Anthropology.

August 21: Presented “Social life of contracts” at ASA anniversary conference, ‘Science, Knowledge, & Technology at 25.’

August 21: Awarded Natalie Aviles the 2015 Hacker Mullins Prize for her article “The little death” as member of prize committee.

July 21: Published “Why ethics fail” on psychologists’ “enhanced interrogation” scandal in Inside Higher Education.

July 17: Join Advisory Committee for the initiative on “Bridging the Research Data Divide” at Harvard University’s Countway Library of Medicine.

July 15: Wrote on “How to make a ‘vulnerable population'” for Somatosphere.

July 1: Published review of Barron Lerner’s book, The Good Doctor, in Social History of Medicine.

June 16: Presented invited talk “The normals: A shadow history of human experiment” at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.

June 11: Presented “Life and labor of medical subjects: Marx, Weber, and the sight of bureaucracy” at Invisible Technicians workshop, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.

June 1: Published “Making up ‘Vulnerable’ People: Human Subjects & the Subjective Experience of Experiment” with Nancy Campbell in Social History of Medicine.

May 31: Quoted in Baltimore Sun news article, “Reforms aim to make medical research safer for its subjects” by Meredith Cohn and Jean Marbella.

May 22: Reviewed “Fatal Isolation” by Richard Keller for Science Magazine.

May 20: Presented “Contracting Health” at Abteilung 2 Colloquium, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.

May 16: Chaired “Sciences of Time” panel at Time & Political Authority conference, Berlin.

May 14: Discussed “Transplant Imaginary” by Lesley Sharp for Harvard Law’s Bill of Health.

May 2: Presented “More than background” in panel on “Teaching history of medicine” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

April 18: Delivered invited talk, “Suffering history,” at the conference “Les mots et les choses & beyond,” at Harvard University.

April 3: Delivered invited talk, “Welfare, work, & witness: Why clinical research can survive the death of a healthy human subject,” at University of Houston.

Feb 27: Published “Its Time to Fix Our Outdated Guidelines for Human Vaccine Trials” with Nancy Campbell at The Conversation.

Feb 18: Presented “The death of Frantz Fanon: A living colonialism in ‘Global’ Mental Health?” at the Workshop on Global Mental Health, Nashville, TN.

Feb 10: Broadcast interview with Emilie Cloatre, author of Pills for the Poorest, for The New Books Network (with students in “Medicine on Trial”).

Feb 2: Broadcast interview with Elena Conis, author of Vaccine Nation, for The New Books Network (with students in “Medicine on Trial”).

Jan 14: Broadcast interview with S. Lochlann Jain, author of Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us, for The New Books Network (with students in “Medicine on Trial”).

Jan 1: Appointed to the Editorial Board of the journal Isis: An international review devoted to the history of science & its cultural influences.

Jan 1: Appointed to the Editorial Board of the journal History of Psychology.


Dec 6: Delivered invited talk “What are ‘local precedents’? Findings from Behind Closed Doors,” at PRIM&R’s 2014 convention ‘Advancing Ethical Research.’

Dec 5: Spoke at book launch featuring authors in the collection Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future (MIT, 2014).

Dec 1: Published “Stowaways in the history of science” in Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences with Nancy Campbell.

Nov 8: Elected Vice President of History of Science Society’s Forum for the History of the Human Sciences.

Nov 7: Presented “Moral kinds” in panel ‘Ontology & the History of Science’ at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society, Chicago.

Aug 20: Published “Declarative bodies: bureaucracy, ethics & science-in-the-making” in Routledge Handbook of STS, Kleinman and Moore, eds.

Aug 19: Presented “What are declarative bodies?” at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco.

Aug 1: Published “IRBs & the problem of ‘local precedents'” in Human Subjects Research Regulation (MIT Press) Cohen & Lynch eds.

July 15: Elected member of council for the Section on Science, Knowledge & Technology of the American Sociological Association.


Dec 1: Published “Reading trust between the lines: ‘Housekeeping work’ & inequality in human-subjects review,” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 22: 391-399.

May 18: Convened inaugural meeting of History of Clinical Trials working group at the annual meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.

March 21: Presented “Managing local precedents: Three models” at the National Academies of Science, Workshop on Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule, Washington, DC.

March 19: Presented “The life of the clinic: Creating a vernacular archive” at Digital Humanities Seminar, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

March 13: Presented “Declarative bodies and the making of a postwar medical morality: The case of research ethics committees” at Department of Social Studies of Medicine, School of Medicine, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec.

January 14: Presented “Migrants or Commodities? The National Institutes of Health’s Healthy ‘Human subjects’ and the Vernacular History of Postwar America” at Department of History, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.

December 5: Addressed participants in “Meet the Author: Behind Closed Doors: IRBs and the Making of Ethical Research,” at Meeting of Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R), in San Diego, CA.

December 1: Published “The House that Kuhn Built: Teaching Fleck’s Genesis and Development through Structure” in Historical Studies of the Natural Sciences 42(5): 570-575.