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Monday, September 8, 2014 -
12:15pm to 2:00pm
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Room 100F, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

STS Circle at Harvard

Aaron Mauck, Harvard, History of Science on "Social Molecules: Biomarkers and the New Data Imaginary in Social Science Research"

Lunch is provided if you RSVP. Please RSVP to sts@hks.harvard.edu by 5pm Wednesday, September 3.

Abstract: The last two decades have witnessed a precipitous increase in the use of biological data in social sciences that previously used such data relatively rarely.  For many researchers, such data provides novel opportunities to illustrate the biological consequences of social phenomena, such as stratification or dislocation, in furtherance of a comprehensive “cell to society” account of human experience. In pursuit of this account, social scientists have reconstructed evidentiary standards, reconfigured funding structures, and developed new justifications for policy interventions.  This talk examines the recent history of stress research, illustrating how social and biological research come to align in the examination of target molecules. The embrace of such molecules has significant implications for how social scientific data are employed in the construction of economic and health policies.
 
Biography: Aaron Pascal Mauck is a lecturer in the History of Science Department at Harvard University.  He received his PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University in 2010, and also holds an MA in Science Studies (Sociology) from the University of California, San Diego.  From 2010-2012, he served as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Michigan, examining the institutional origins of chronic disease management in the United States. His first book project, Typing Diabetes: Diagnostic Ambiguity and Clinical Practice in the Twentieth Century, charts the complicated historical process through which clinical beliefs about diabetes risks were gradually transformed into concrete diagnostic criteria for this disease.  He is currently undertaking a second book project that delves further into the foundations of chronic disease management by exploring how biomarker research is employed by healthcare researchers and social scientists to reconstruct our models of pathogenesis.

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