Food Allergies and the Hygienic Sublime

People living with food allergies in the United States use a variety of strategies to ensure that their food and homes are clean, free of allergens, and therefore safe for their specific needs. Yet the pursuit of purity is not merely a practical or material matter, but a semiotic one as well, and it is shaped by histories of race, gender, class, and family structure in the United States.

The Trolls are Teaming Up — And Tech Platforms aren’t Doing Enough to Stop Them

Online harassment is ultimately about trying to control what kind of people are visible and have a voice in public arenas. The personal, social, and material harms our participants experienced have real consequences for who can participate in public life.

The Trolls are Organized and Everyone’s a Target

This white paper, a collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League, examined the effects of online hate and harassment on private individuals based on an extensive literature review and 15 in-depth qualitative interviews.

Automation Otherwise

Automating Inequality raises serious questions about what is to become of human agency in a digitally automated world. It provides timely case studies for tech workers, policy makers, and anyone seeking to understand the social impacts of computing technologies and reevaluate the ethical frameworks that structure digital innovation.

Children of Production

“I’ll wager that there is a baby making to be aimed for that will be defined neither by the alienated misery of the status quo nor the silver absolutism of their techno-fix,” writes Sophie Lewis in the introduction to Full Surrogacy Now, her bracing exploration of the gestational surrogacy industry. Through listening to surrogates, Lewis shows how common ideas about the givenness of labor relations, the family, and nature in the modern world become untenable.

Bill of Health

In the utopian realm of digital health, personalized on-demand health data is framed as both sufficient and aspirational. Like the latest iPhone, health is becoming an exclusive novelty item, enticing to early adopters with cash to spare.

Natural’s Not In It

Many of the societal ills we link to digital technology seem to have already happened to us, and it can feel like we have little control over them. But in fictional worlds, we can control technology again.

Sins of the Mother

To safeguard future generations, it may be more important to guard against self-tracking’s intrusion into our lives than to reap its benefits. Is the Apple Watch truly a guardian, caring for our well-being — or is it a warden, watching and waiting for us to make a misstep?

Hate in Social Virtual Reality

Even though the Social VR industry is new, high-profile incidents of bias, hate, and harassment have already been reported. But because the industry is new, there is also a prime opportunity to design platforms and tools that will reduce and prevent harassment in the future. This report lays the groundwork for future analysis of tools and strategies to address hate in Social VR.

Fancy Feast

This is the new health, same as the old. Beautiful, slim, wealthy white women — long the keepers of purity, health, and hygiene in the American imagination — are again advising the rest of us how to care for our bodies through state-of-the-art technologies.

Conflicting Assumptions: The Meaning of Price in the Pharmaceutical Economy

My Commentary article “Conflicting Assumptions: The Meaning of Price in the Pharmaceutical Economy” was published in August 2017 in the journal Science As Culture. An excerpt is below. Reach out for the final version.

Feminists Write the Anthropocene: Three Tales of Possibility in Late Capitalism

This essay in the Journal of Cultural Economy reviewed three recent books: Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Alexis Shotwell’s Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times, and Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins.

Necessary Purity

It is even tempting to regard food allergy as the signature disease of modernity. If so, a return to pure, clean living — avoiding pollution, pesticides, the hustle and bustle of modern life — would seem to be the solution.

Biofinance: Speculation, Risk, Debt, and Value from Bios: A conference report

How does the financialization of life itself figure as a new means of producing value in modern technoscience? Organizer Kirk Fiereck, panelists Melina Sherman, Danya Glabau, and Emily Xi Lin, discussant Kristin Peterson, and chair David Pederson, offered new ways to think about how financialized life is a source of value, and what this means for the ethics and practice of biomedicine in sites throughout the globe.

Do Cyborgs Have Politics?

This question of the politics of technological artifacts has perhaps never been more salient than now, when we walk around with computing technologies on our person at all times. Chief among these are the politics of becoming cyborg.

The Moral Life of Epinephrine in the United States

The moral life of epinephrine serves as a model for thinking about how medical devices take on meaning that is at once practical, moral, and economic as they circulate through manufacturing and distribution channels and into the lives and social worlds of users.

Pricing the EpiPen

While blaming the CEO satisfies the forensic itch of reporters and congresspeople, it obscures some important structural issues at play in healthcare today.

Why Does Everyone Hate Martin Shkreli?

What makes Shkreli so delightfully hateable aren’t the particular lies he told to investors and regulators, but how he so gleefully espoused the benefits of corporate profit-seeking in the pharmaceutical industry prior to his downfall. Yet his views are not extraordinary; rather, they are emblematic of how this peculiar corner of industry does business.