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I'm an associate professor of Sociology at UC San Diego, where I am also a core faculty member of the Science Studies Program and the Institute for Practical Ethics. My research and teaching focus on the sociology of science and knowledge/STS, comparative-historical sociology, social theory, medical sociology and qualitative research methods.
My book, Mobilizing Mutations: Human Genetics in the Age of Patient Advocacy, examines the way that genetics is reshaping medical classification and giving rise to new ways of understanding human difference. Drawing on fieldwork and historical material, I provide a sociological account of the ways genetic mutations have been mobilized and transformed in the sixty years since it became possible to see abnormal human genomes. I show how the discovery of genetic mutations can lead to the delineation of novel medical conditions like the XYY, Fragile X, NGLY1, and 22q11.2 Deletion syndromes--a practice I call 'genomic designation'. Today, these and other genomically designated conditions are being mobilized by experts and advocates alike as both new forms of illness and privileged sites of biomedical knowledge production. In this way, they have become rich categories of difference that can transform people's lives. By tracing the social histories of these mutations, I argue that we are able to grapple with much broader issues at the intersection of biomedicine and society. Mobilizing Mutations was published in September 2019 by University of Chicago Press.
(Use the code "NAVON" for 30% off on the UCP site!)
2019. Mobilizing Mutations: Human Genetics in the Age of Patient Advocacy. University of Chicago Press.
2022. How do genetic tests answer questions about neurodevelopmental differences? A sociological take. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.
Online first: 10.1111/dmcn.15376.
2022. New Prenatal Genetic Screens Pose Underappreciated Ethical Dilemmas.
2020. '"The gene didn't get the memo": Realigning disciplines and remaking illness in postgenomic medicine'. Critical Inquiry. 46(4): 867-890.
2017. ‘Truth in Advertising: Rationalizing ads and knowing consumers in the early twentieth century United States’. Theory & Society, 46(2): 143-176.
2016 (w/ Gil Eyal). ‘Looping genomes: Diagnostic change and the genetic makeup of the autism population’.
American Journal of Sociology, 121(5): 1416-71.
- Winner of the AJS Gould Prize
2015. ‘”We are a people, one people”: How 1967 transformed Holocaust memory and Jewish identity in Israel and the US’. Journal of Historical Sociology, 28(3): 342-373.
2012 (w/ Uri Shwed). ‘The chromosome 22q11.2 deletion: From the unification of biomedical fields to a new kind of genetic condition’. Social Science & Medicine, 75(9): 1633-41.
2012. ‘Genetic counseling, activism and the ‘genotype-first’ diagnosis of developmental disorders’.
Journal of Genetic Counseling, 21(6): 770-776.
2011. ‘Genomic Designation: How genetics can delineate new, phenotypically diffuse medical categories’.
Social Studies of Science, 41(2): 203-226.
2013-15: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy, Harvard University
2013: PhD in Sociology,
2010: MPhil in Sociology,
2008: MA in Sociology,
2005: MA (undergrad) in Philosophy,
University of Edinburgh