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Joseph Dumit

Joseph Dumit

Professor of Anthropology

Director of the Institute for Social Sciences (ISS)

1246b Social Sciences (Deathstar)

Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616, USA

Fax: (530) 752-8885

Office Hours for Winter 2017 :

  • Tuesday 4:30-5:30p at the DSI in the back of the 3rd Floor of Shields Library, rm 362.
  • Directions here:
  • and by appt.


  1. PhD History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1995
  2. BA, Rice University, 1989


I study how science and medicine change and how the lives of Americans, including consumers, patients, doctors and scientists also change as the nature of facts and evidence change. My first book, Picturing Personhood: Brains Scans and Biomedical America (Princeton University Press, 2004), looked at the development of PET scan brain imaging and what assumptions about brain anatomy, psychology, and human nature needed to be made in order to conduct experiments, and then how the images circulate through popular culture, courtrooms, and patients' lives. My second book, Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012), focuses on the way clinical trials are designed in ways that grow pharmaceutical treatments in the latter half of the 20th century. I have co-edited three books: with Gary Lee Downey, Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies, (SAR Press), with Robbie Davis-Floyd, Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (Routledge), and with Regula Burri, Biomedicine as Culture (Routledge). I have also written articles about patient experiences, difficult to define illnesses, and the history of medicine, and was the managing editor of Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry for 10 years.

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Dept. of Anthropology

328 Young Hall
One Shields Ave.
University of California
Davis, Ca 95616-8522

Ph.  530-752-0745
Fax. 530-752-8885