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Aaron Panofsky


2006 Ph.D. Sociology, New York University
1996 B.A. Science Studies (Interdisciplinary Studies), Amherst College

Aaron Panofsky is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Society and Genetics, Public Policy, and Sociology. He is a sociologist of science, knowledge, and culture with a special interest on the history, intellectual organization, and social implications of genetics. His recent book Misbehaving Science is a history of the field of behavior genetics that looks at how the way scientists have dealt with successive episodes of controversy have affected the field’s social organization and limited its intellectual possibilities. He has also written critically about attempts to apply behavior genetics to problems of social policy and education. Another project looks at different forms of non-expert, public participation in science and the social and material technologies that enable it. Through this project he has studied how patient advocates try to affect research in medical genetics and how Internet technologies mediate different styles of participation in scientific and social innovation. He is currently working on projects about the uses of economic quantification to evaluate teachers and controversies about how genetics research contributes to and confuses knowledge about race and racial differences. Professor Panofsky has also published on art, social theory, sociological methods, and the cultural aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Center for American Politics and Public Policy.

Recent courses have included: Biotechnology and Society (First year cluster), Science Policy and Expertise, and Problems of Identity at the Biology/Society Interface: What is Race?

Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics (Chicago, 2014).

Selected articles and chapters
Aaron Panofsky. 2015. “What Does Behavioral Genetics Offer for Improving Education?” Hastings Center Report. September-October Special Report: S43-S49.

Aaron Panofsky. 2015. “Behavior Genetics and the Postgenomic Turn.” in Sarah Richardson and Hallam Stevens eds. Postgenomics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Aaron Panofsky. 2015. “A Conceptual Revolution Limited by Disciplinary Division: Commentary on Jablonka and Lamb (1989).” International Journal of Epidemiology.

David Schleifer and Aaron Panofsky. 2015. “Patient, Parent, Advocate, Investor:  The contours of markets, medicine, and government.” in Caroline Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward Walker eds. Democratizing Inequalities. New York: NYU Press.

Aaron Panofsky. 2014. “The Genetics Community Confronts its Troublesome Inheritance.Washington Monthly (Ten Miles Square Blog). September 16.

Aaron L. Panofsky. 2011. “Field Analysis and Interdisciplinary Science: Scientific Capital Exchange in Behavior Genetics.” Minerva. 49:295-316.

Christopher Kelty, Aaron Panofsky, Seth Erickson, Morgan Currie, Roderic Crooks, Stacy Wood, Patricia Garcia, Michael Wartenbe. 2014. “Seven Dimensions of Contemporary Participation Disentangled.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Christopher Kelty and Aaron Panofsky. 2014. “Disentangling Participation: Comparative Empirical Analysis of the Dimensions of Participation in Science and Medicine.” Genome Medicine. 6(8).

Hannah Landecker and Aaron Panofsky. 2013. “From Social Structure to Gene Regulation, and Back:  A Critical Introduction to Environmental Epigenetics for Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology. 39:333-357.

Aaron Panofsky. 2011. “Generating Sociability to Drive Science: Patient Advocacy Organizations and Genetics Research.” Social Studies of Science. 41:31-57.

Aaron L. Panofsky. 2009. “Behavior Genetics and the Prospect of ‘Personalized Social Policy’Policy and Society. 28: 327-340.

Courtney B. Abrams, Karen Albright, and Aaron L. Panofsky. 2004. “Contesting Community in the Wake of September 11th: The Processural Negotiation of Liminality, Experience, and the New Normal in Post-Disaster New York.” City & Community 3(3): 189-220.

Aaron L. Panofsky. 2003. “From Epistemology to the Avant Garde: Marcel Duchamp and the Sociology of Knowledge in Resonance,” Theory, Culture &  Society 20(1): 61-92.

Public presentation
Aaron Panofsky. 2014. “How ‘Unscientific’ Ideas about Race Contribute to the Scientific Authority of Behavior Genetics.” Race, Biological Causation, & Science Communication Conference at the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at U.C. Irvine.

UCLA Department of Public Policy
UCLA Department of Sociology