Joan Fujimura

Position title: Martindale-Bascom Professor of Sociology, Emerita


Phone: (608) 265-2724

7101 Sewell Social Sciences

Department of Sociology
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Curriculum vitae


I am a sociologist with expertise in sociology of science, technology and medicine, medical sociology, critical race theory, gender and science, organizations and professions, social theory, and qualitative research methods. Between 2007 and 2017, my interdisciplinary research group and I have studied five different biomedical research centers that use or develop human genetic variation categories. The genetic epidemiologists we have studied have developed the tools for and conducted genome-wide association studies in search of disease risk SNPs. The goal of the project was to examine where, when, and how group categories are used in biomedical genomics. We explored whether, and if so how, these group categories overlap with social race categories. These sites recruit human subjects for DNA studies, genotype DNA samples, and analyze the samples for disease risk, for response to medication, or for studies of genetic variation. Some of these sites also studied environmental risks for disease.

The research team for the above project included a statistician and a genomics researcher. I was the team leader, and also brought years of experience studying research practices in genetics, STS, race theory, and qualitative methods to the team. We have used the data collected for the above project for a book (Crafting Science: A Socio-History of the Quest for the Genetics of Cancer, Harvard University Press; 1996) on changes in basic and applied biomedical research and their relationship to public health policies, as well as STS, sociology, and history of biology articles.

CDE research theme area affiliations


Selected Publications

Fujimura, Joan H. “A Different Kind of Association between Socio-Histories and Health.” British Journal of Sociology 66, no. 1 (2015): 58-67.

Fujimura, Joan H., Deborah A. Bolnick, Ramya Rajagopalan, Jay S. Kaufman, Richard C. Lewontin, Troy Duster, Pilar Ossorio, and Jonathan Marks. “Clines without Classes: How to Make Sense of Human Variation.” Sociological Theory 32, no. 3 (2014): 208-27.