Biography and/or Research Interests:
Thrilled by the turn-outs at both the SHOT meeting in Singapore and 4S in Sydney this past week, and good to see many of you at both, including the amazing discussion with 13 journal editors (Engineering Studies included). I spend a few months a year (usually 2 the past few years, but 3x six) in Singapore watching the high-speed transformations in engineering education (at least in theory) and technology development at institutions such as the new Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Tembusu College at NUS (the master the past nine years has been Greg Clancey, and was the host for the SHOT meetings), Biopolis (a biology-focuses research set of institutions) and One North generally (Biopolis, Fusionopolis, and Mediaopolis), as well as now the rapid experiments with Smart Nation (an update of previous brandings such as Intelligent Nation, but one that is involving sandboxes for driverless vehicles, spreading IoT generally, large scale engineering projects, etc.). One of the general issues is so-called “interdiscplinarity” on which SUTD has staked its identity as an innovative institutions, and I’m interested in how the more difficult yet called “softer" sciences (social sciences, humanities) get incorporated in engineering (or fail to) and how engineering issues get incorporated into smart (“intelligent?”) social science, including current debates about algorithms and accountability.
Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies at MIT, as well as Lecturer in Social Medicine in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Trained at Johns Hopkins, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago (PhD). Taught at Chicago, Harvard, Rice, and MIT; served as Director of the Center for Cultural Studies at Rice, and Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT. Fieldwork in the Caribbean, Iran, India, and currently in Southeast Asia.
Work in three primary areas:
(1) The anthropology of the biomedical sciences and technologies: with the Genome Institute of Singapore and the Human Geonome Organization (HUGO) on social and ethical issues associated with genomics and with capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region; and with the MIT- Indian Department of Biotechnology project to establish a Translational Medicine Institute in New Delhi on the MIT Health Science and Technology (HST) model. Also helped the National University of Singapore to establish an STS cluster, now at the new Singapore University of Technology and Design to do the same. Co-edited A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories and Emergent Realities (with Byron Good, Mary Jo Good, and Sarah Willen).
(2) The anthropology of media circuits, with foci of regional attention to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia. Three books on Iran (Iran from Religious Dispute to Revolution, on the training of religious leaders in the seminary town of Qum; Debating Muslims: Cultural Dialogues between Postmodernity and Tradition (with Mehdi Abedi) on oral, literate and visual media in Iran; and Mute Dreams, Blind Owls and Dispersed Knowledges in the Transnational Circuitry (2004) on interpretations of the national epic, the Shahnameh, and the films of social repair after the Iran-Iraq war. More recently he has been tracking the explosion of arts and media in Singapore and Asia.
(3) Anthropological methods for the contemporary world with specially attention to the interface between science and technology and anthropology. Anthropology in the Meantime (2018), Anthropological Futures (2009), Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice (2003), and (with George Marcus) Anthropology as Cultural Critique (1986, 2nd ed. 1999). Edit a book series (with Joe Dumit) on Experimental Futures: Technological Lives, Scientific Arts, and Anthropological Voices, which has 34 volumes out as of 1 Sept. 2018.