Hannah Landecker, Director

2000  Ph.D.,  Science and Technology Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1993   B.Sc.,  Cell and Developmental Biology, University of British Columbia

Hannah Landecker uses the tools of history and social science to study contemporary developments in the life sciences, and their historical taproots in the twentieth century.  She has taught and researched in the fields of history of science, anthropology and sociology.  At UCLA she is cross-appointed between the Institute for Society and Genetics, and the Sociology Department.  She is currently working on a book called “American Metabolism,” which looks at transformations to the metabolic sciences wrought by the rise of epigenetics, microbiomics, cell signaling and hormone biology.

Landecker’s work focuses on the social and historical study of biotechnology and life science, from 1900 to now.  She is interested in the intersections of biology and technology, with a particular focus on cells, and the in vitro conditions of life in research settings.


Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies, Harvard University Press, 2007

UCLA Department of Sociology
Curriculum Vitae
Article: Food as exposure: Nutritional epigenetics and the new metabolism

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Sociology in an Age of Genomic Instability: Copy Number Variation, Somatic Mosaicism, and the Fallen Genome,” (with Martine Lappé), Advances in Medical Sociology Volume 16: Genetics, Health and Society, pp.157-186, 2015.

“Commentary: The Information of Conformation,” International Journal of Epidemiology, Advance Online Publication April 7, 2015.  doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv022.

“How the Genome got a Life Span,” (with Martine Lappé), New Genetics and Society 34(2):152-176, 2015.

“Antibiotic Resistance and the Biology of History,” Body and Society, Advance Online Publication March 13, 2015. [open access publication available here]

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

“Metabolism, Reproduction, and the Aftermath of Categories,” Feminist & Scholar Online 11(3): Summer 2013.

“When the Control Becomes the Experiment,” Limn 3: Sentinel Devices, 2013.  here.

“Post-Industrial Metabolism: Fat Knowledge,” Public Culture 25(3):495-522, 2013.

“The Metabolism of Philosophy, in Three Parts,” 193-224 in Dialectic and Paradox: Configurations of the Third in Modernity, B. Malkmus and I. Cooper, eds., Bern: Peter Lang, 2013.

“The Life of Movement: From Microcinematography to Live Cell Imaging,” Journal of Visual Culture 11(3):378-399, 2012.

“Food as Exposure: Nutritional Epigenetics and the New Metabolism,” BioSocieties 6:167-194, 2011. [open access publication here]

“Creeping, Dying, Drinking: The Cinematic Portal and the Microscopic World of the Twentieth Century Cell,” Science in Context24(3):381-416, 2011.

“Seeing Things: From Microcinematography to Live Cell Imaging,” Nature Methods 6:707-709, 2009.

“Technical Matters: method, knowledge and infrastructure in twentieth century life science,” (with Angela N.H. Creager) Nature Methods 6:701-705, 2009. here.

“Living Differently in Time: Plasticity, Temporality and Cellular Biotechnologies,” in Technologized Images, Technologized Bodies: Anthropological Approaches to a New Politics of Vision, Jeanette Edwards, Penny Harvey and Peter Wade, eds. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. [online version]

“Microcinematography and the History of Science and Film,” Isis, 97:121-132, 2006.

“Cellular Features: Microcinematography and Early Film Theory,” Critical Inquiry 31:903-937, 2005.

“A Theory of Animation: Cells, L-Systems, and Film,” (with Christopher Kelty), Grey Room, 17:30-63, 2004.

“The Lewis Films: Tissue Culture and ‘Living Anatomy’, 1919-1940,” 117-144 in Centennial History of the Carnegie Institute Department of Embryology, Jane Maienschein, Marie Glitz and Garland Allan (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2004.

“Building ‘A New Type of Body in Which to Grow a Cell’: The Origins of Tissue Culture,” 151-174 in Creating a Tradition of Biomedical Research: Contributions to the History of The Rockefeller University, Darwin Stapleton (ed.), New York: Rockefeller University Press, 2004.

“On Beginning and Ending with Apoptosis: Cell Death and Biomedicine,” in Remaking Life and Death: Towards an Anthropology of the Life Sciences, edited by Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock, School of American Research Press, 2003.

“New Times for Biology: Nerve Cultures and the Advent of Cellular Life in Vitro,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33:667-694, 2002.

“Immortality, In Vitro: A History of the HeLa Cell Line,” in Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics, edited by Paul Brodwin, Theories of Contemporary Culture series, Indiana University Press, 2000. Reprinted in A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories, Emergent Realities, Byron Good, Michael Fischer, Sarah Willen, Mary-Jo Delvecchio-Good (eds.), pp. 353-366, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

“Between Beneficence and Chattel: The Human Biological in Law and Science,” Science in Context 12(1): 203-225, 1999. Reprinted in Law and Science, Volume II: Epistemological, Evidentiary, and Relational Engagements, International Library of Essays in Law and Society, Susan Silbey, ed., Ashgate Publishing, 2008, pp. 181-204.

“Screen for Enhancers of Polycomb and Polycomblike in Drosophila Melanogaster,” (with Donald Sinclair and Hugh W. Brock), Developmental Genetics 15:425-434, 1994.

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