Joan Fujimura

Position title: Martindale-Bascom Professor of Sociology, Emerita


Phone: (608) 265-2724

7101 Sewell Social Sciences

More Information
Curriculum Vitae
Joan Fujimura headshot

Research Interest Statement:

Joan Fujimura’s research is in the sociology of science, technology, and medicine; medical sociology; race and ethnicity; social theory; gender and science; qualitative methods. Her recent research has examined how genomics had been used in biomedical research. She and her team were especially interested in how large genome-wide association studies incorporated social understandings of race in constructing genetic science and its subsequent impacts on medicine and on the misrepresentation of race as genetic. They also studied how geneticists created genetic populations.  Her current research examines two major themes:  (1) the use of race and genomics in blood infrastructures and practices, especially in blood, stem cell, and bone marrow biomedical research and clinical matches; and (2) what happens when sociocultural understandings of multiraciality or “mixed race” meet biological and genetic notions of the same. Fujimura’s most recent publications focus on how algorithms used in medical research have negative impacts on patients and on science. More generally, she writes about how these social assumptions came to be embedded in scientific research infrastructures and how these assumptions impacted research outcomes. She also works on developing theory in the social studies of science. She teaches courses on Social Studies of Science, Research Issues in the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Race and Medicine, Qualitative Research Methods, Gender and Science. Fujimura is currently the President of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S).


Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 1986

Departmental Areas of Interest:

Science and Technology, Race and Ethnic Studies, Medical Sociology, Knowledge, Gender, Qualitative Methods, Organizational and Occupational Analysis, General Social Theory, Political Sociology, Culture


Soc 301 Biotechnology and Society
Soc 496 Sociological Analysis of Race Issues in Science
Soc 611 Gender, Science and Technology
Soc 901 Qualitative Data Analysis
Soc 901 Sociological Analysis of Research on Race and Genetics
Soc 922 Researching Race: Current Questions and Controversies
STS 901 Science, Technology and Medicine in Society

Other Campus Affiliations:

Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies
Asian American Studies
Center for Demography and Ecology
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Gender & Women’s Studies Department

Selected Publications:

Fujimura, Joan H and Ramya M Rajagopalan, “Race, Ethnicity, Ancestry, and Genomics in Hawaii: Discourses and Practices,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Nov 2020, Vol. 50, Number 5, 596–623. ISSN 1939-1811, electronic ISSN 1939-182X.

Fujimura, Joan H, and Christopher J. Holmes. 2019. Staying the Course: On the Value of Social Studies of Science in Resistance to the “Post-Truth” MovementSociological Forum.

Fujimura, Joan H. 2018. Variations on a Chip: Technologies of Difference in Human Genetics Research, Journal of the History of Biology 51(4):841-873. DOI.10.1007/s10739-018-9543-x

Rajagopalan Ramya., Nelson Alondra, Fujimura Joan H. 2016. Race and Science in the Twenty-First Century. In The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies edited by Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, and Laurel Smith-Doerr. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p.349-378.

Fujimura, Joan H. 2015. “A Different Kind of Association between Socio-Histories and Health.” British Journal of Sociology 66(1): 58-67.

Fujimura, Joan H., Deborah A. Bolnick, Ramya Rajagopalan, Jay S. Kaufman, Richard C. Lewontin, Troy Duster, Pilar Ossorio, and Jonathan Marks. 2014. “Clines without Classes: How to Make Sense of Human Variation.” Sociological Theory 32(3): 208-27.

Rajagopalan, Ramya., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2012. “Making History via DNA, Making DNA from History: Deconstructing the Race-Disease Connection in Admixture Mapping” In Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision between DNA, Race, and History edited by Keith Wailoo, Catherine Lee, and Alondra Nelson. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Rajagopalan, Ramya., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2012.”Medicine and Society: Will Personalized Medicine Challenge or Reify Categories of Race and Ethnicity?” AMA Virtual Mentor 14(8): 657-664.

Fujimura., Joan H. 2011. “Technobiological Imaginaries: How Do Systems Biologists Know Nature?” In Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies edited by Mara J. Goldman, Paul Nadasdy, and Matthew D. Turner. Duke University Press.

Calvert, Jane., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2011.”Calculating life? Duelling discourses in interdisciplinary systems biology.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42: 115-163.

Rajagopalan, Ramya., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2011. “Different differences: The use of ‘genetic ancestry’ versus race in biomedical human genetic research.”Social Studies of Science 41(1):5-30 (Winner, 2013 David Edge Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) for best article of the year in the area of science and technology studies)

Rajagopalan, Ramya., Pilar Ossorio, Kjell Doksum, and Joan H. Fujimura. 2010. “Race and Ancestry: Operationalizing Populations in Human Genetic Variation Studies” In What’s the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference edited by Ian Whitmarsh and David S. Jones (eds.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Calvert, Jane., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2009. “Calculating life? A sociological perspective on systems biology.” EMBO reports 10:S46-S49.

Duster, Troy., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2008. Special Issue on Race, Genomics, and Biomedicine. Social Studies of Science 38(5).

Rajagopalan, Ramya., Joan H. Fujimura, and Troy Duster. 2008. “Race, Genetics, and Disease: Questions of Evidence, Matters of Consequence.” Social Studies of Science 38(5). 643–656.

Fujimura, Joan H., Troy Duster, Richard S. Cooper, Deborah A. Bolnick, Duana Fullwiley, Jonathan Kahn, Jay S. Kaufman, Jonathan Marks, Ann Morning, Alondra Nelson, Pilar Ossoriom JEanny Reardon, Susan M. Reverby, and Kimberly Tallbear. 2007. “The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing.” Science 318: 399-400.

Fujimura, Joan H. 2006. “‘Sex Genes’: A Critical Socio-Material Approach to the Politics and Molecular Genetics of Sex Determination.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32(1).

Fujimura, Joan H. 2005. “Postgenomic futures: translations across the machine-nature border in systems biology.” New Genetics and Society 24(2): 195-225.

Fujimura, Joan H. 2003. “Future Imaginaries: Genome Scientists as Socio-Cultural Entrepreneurs.” Pp. 176-199 in Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two Culture Divide edited by Alan Goodman, Deborah Heath, Susan Lindee. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1999. “The Practices and Politics of Producing Meaning in the Human Genome Project,” Sociology of Science Yearbook 21(1): 49-87.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1998. “Authorizing Knowledge in Science and Anthropology.”  American Anthropologist, New Series 100(2): 347-360

Fujimura, Joan H. 1996. Crafting Science: A Sociohistory of the Quest for the Genetics of Cancer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Fujimura, Joan H., and Danny Y. Chou. 1994. “Dissent in Science: Styles of Scientific Practice and the Controversy Over the Cause of AIDS.” Social Science & Medicine 38(8): 1017-1036.

Fujimura, Joan H., and Adele E. Clarke. 1992. The Right Tools for the Job: At Work in Twentieth Century Life Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1991. “On Methods, Ontologies, and Representation in the Sociology of Science: Where Do We Stand?” Pp. 207-248 in Social Organization and Social Process: Essays in Honor of Anselm L. Straus edited by David Maines.  Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1988. “The Molecular Biological Bandwagon in Cancer Research: Where Social Worlds Meet.” Social Problems 35(3):261-283.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1987. “Constructing ‘Do-Able’ Problems in Cancer Research: Articulating Alignment.” Social Studies of Science 17(2): 257-293.

Research Methods:

Qualitative methods: Ethnography and Grounded theory analysis