Alondra Nelson


(212) 851-7081


  • Affiliated Faculty
  • Faculty Advisory Board, Columbia College Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship
  • Research

    Alondra Nelson is Associate Professor of Sociology and also holds an appointment in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWaG). Her areas of specialization include race and ethnicity in the U.S.; gender and kinship; socio-historical studies of medicine, science and technology; and social and cultural theory. Nelson studies the production of knowledge about human difference in biomedicine and technoscience and the circulation of these ideas in the public sphere: Her research focuses on how science and its applications shape the social world, including aspects of personal identification, racial formation and collective action. In turn, she also explores the ways in which social groups challenge, engage and, in some instances, adopt and mobilize conceptualizations of race, ethnicity and gender derived from scientific and technical domains.

    Professor Nelson is author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. She is currently investigating how claims about race and ancestry are marshaled together with genetic analysis in a range of social ventures, including family genealogy and ancestry, reparations politics and the formation of public and collective memory.

    Selected Work

    Books and Journal Issues

    • Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. 2011. University of Minnesota Press.
    • Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision Between DNA, Race, and History. Co-Editor with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee. 2011. Rutgers University Press.
    • Afrofuturism. Editor. Special Issue of Social Text, 2002. Duke University Press.
    • Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life. 2001. New York University Press.

    Selected Articles and Book Chapters

    (2011) ‘Reconciliation Projects: From Kinship to Justice,’ in Keith Wailoo, Alondra Nelson and Catherine Lee (eds.) Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision Between DNA, Race, and History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    (2011) Alondra Nelson and Jeong Won Hwang, ‘Roots Revelations: Genetic Ancestry Testing and the YouTube Generation,’ in Peter Chow-White and Lisa Nakamura (eds.) Race After the Internet. New York: Routledge.

    Clarke, Adele E., Janet Shim, Sara Shostak and Alondra Nelson (2009). ‘Biomedicalizing Genetic Health, Diseases and Identities,’ in Paul Atkinson, Peter Glasner, and Margaret Lock (eds.) Handbook of Genetics and Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era. London: Routledge.

    (2009). ‘The Inclusion-and-Difference Paradox: A Review of Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research by Steven Epstein,’ Social Identities 15: 741-43.

    (2008). ‘Bio Science: Genetic Ancestry Testing and the Pursuit of African Ancestry,’ Social Studies of Science 38: 759-783.

    (2008). ‘The Factness of Diaspora’, in Barbara Koenig, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, and Sarah Richardson (eds.) Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    Bolnick, Deborah, Duana Fullwiley, Troy Duster, Richard Cooper, Joan H. Fujimura, Jonathan Kahn, Jay S. Kaufman, Jonathan Marks, Ann Morning, Alondra Nelson, et al. (2007). ‘The Business and Science of Ancestry Testing,’ Science 318 (5849): 399-400.

    Braun, Lundy, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Duana Fullwiley, Evelynn Hammonds, Alondra Nelson, et al. (2007). ‘Racial categories in medical practice: How useful are they?’ Public Library of Science (PLoS): Medicine 4(9): 1423-1428.

    (2006). ‘A Black Mass as Black Gothic: Myth and Medicine in African American Cultural Nationalism,’ in Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Crawford (eds.) New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    See Also