Sociology and History of Medicine

Elizabeth M. Armstrong (ext. site) Ph.D., M.P.A.

Cohort 5 — Michigan Alumni List
Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Department of Sociology and Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs
Princeton University, Princeton , NJ

Dr. Armstrong has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a MPA from Princeton University. Her research interests in public health, the history and sociology of medicine, social determinants of health, and medical ethics. She is the author of Conceiving Risk, Bearing Responsibility: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Diagnosis of Moral Disorder (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003) and articles on family planning, medical mistakes, adolescent motherhood, and the sociology of pregnancy and birth. Her current research includes a longitudinal study of agenda setting around disease in the U.S. and a study of fetal personhood and obstetrical ethics. She holds a joint appointment in the department of sociology and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and is a faculty associate at both the Office of Population Research and the Center for Health and Wellbeing there.

Discipline: Sociology
		

Joanna Kempner Ph.D.

Cohort 11 — Michigan Alumni List
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Dr. Kempner received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an affiliated member of Rutgers’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, works at the intersection of medicine, science, gender, and the body. Her research investigates knowledge production as cultural work, inscribed with and shaped by tacit assumptions about social relations across gender, race, and class. Her first book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014), examines the social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. She has also written extensively on the formation of “forbidden knowledge,” which are the boundaries that form around what we think is too dangerous, sensitive or taboo to research. Kempner is currently working on several projects related to the politics of disease, pharmaceutical development, and health care delivery, including a book manuscript on the various successes of underground psychedelic drug research. She has won several awards for her research, including the 2016 American Sociological Association’s Eliot Freidson award for Outstanding Publication in Medical Sociology in honor of Not Tonight. She writes for a wide variety of audiences, publishing in journals like Science, Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine.

Discipline: Sociology
Health Policy Interests:
		

Abigail C. Saguy Ph.D.

Cohort 7 — Yale Alumni List
Professor, Department of Sociology
Associate Professor, Department of Women’s Studies
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Saguy received both her PhD and MA in Sociology from Princeton University and her Bachelor of Arts degree from College of Letters, Wesleyan Univeresity. My teaching and research interests include gender, culture, the body, politics, law and public health. Her interest also include in how cultural schemas shape power relations and how subordinate groups are sometimes able to create new cultural meaning to increase their control. She pursued these interests through my comparative research on sexual harassment definitions and on framing contests over fatness. In these “hot” or highly contested topics, social actors make their cultural assumptions explicit, making them ideally suited to cultural analysis. In her work, she used multiple methods and cross-national, cross-issue, and cross-institutional comparisons. In recent years, the “obesity epidemic” has emerged as a top public health concern in the United States and abroad. Scholars, journalists, and politicians alike are scrambling to find answers. What or who is responsible for this crisis and what can be done to stop it? In contrast, in What's Wrong with Fat? (WWwF?) She argues that these fraught debates obscure more important sociological questions: How has fatness come to be understood as a public health crisis at all? Why has the view of fatness as a medical problem and public health crisis come to dominate more positive framings of weight – as consistent with health, beauty, or a legitimate rights claim—in public discourse? Why are heavy individuals singled out for blame? And what are the consequences of understanding weight in these ways? Building on WWwF?, she conducted a series of ongoing experments with David Frederick (Psychology, Chapman University) that examine the effect of reading different news articles about body weight have on attitudes about health, health policy, and weight-based prejudice. In a collaboration with French sociologists Henri Bergeron and Patrick Castell, she is investigating the extent to which frames shape policy, focusing specifically on the case of French obesity policy. Her latest book is "What's Wrong with Fat? (2013, Oxford University Press) and What is Sexual Harassment? From Capitol Hill to the Sorbonne (2003, University of California Press).

Discipline: Sociology