Mike Fortun

Associate Professor, Science and Technology Studies

Mike Fortun is an associate professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Insititute, Troy, New York, USA. He is co-editor (with Kim Fortun) of Cultural Anthropology, the journal of the Society for Cultural Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. A historian of the life sciences, his current research focuses on the contemporary science, culture, and political economy of genomics. His work in the life sciences has covered the policy, scientific, and social history of the Human Genome Project in the U.S., the history of biotechnology, and the growth of commercial genomics and bioinformatics in the speculative economies of the 1990s. His most recent work is Promising Genomics: Iceland and deCODE Genetics in a World of Speculation (University of California Press 2008), an ethnographic account of deCODE Genetics in Iceland. His other recent ethnographic work on toxicogenomics, and on the use of race variables in genetics research on complex conditions (nicotine use and asthma), is based in ongoing involvement with "transdisciplinary" groups of geneticists, physicians, historians, legal and policy scholars, and anthropologists centered at the Insitutute for Health Care Research at Georgetown University and the Institute for Health Policy at Harvard University.


Ph.D. 1993 Harvard University, History of Science
B.A. 1982 Hampshire College

Select Works
  • PUBLICATIONS:<br /> <br /> <em>Promising Genomics: Iceland and DeCODE Genetics In a World of Speculation.</em> University of California Press, September 2008.<br /> <br /> <em>Major Works in Cultural Anthropology (4 vols.).</em> 2009. Edited with Kim Fortun.&nbsp; London: Sage.<br /> <br /> &quot;Genes In Our kNot.&quot;&nbsp; 2009. <em>Handbook of Genetics and Society: Mapping the New Genomic Era, </em>Paul and Margaret Lock (eds.).&nbsp; London: Routledge.<br /> <br /> &quot;For An Ethics of Promising, Or, A Few Kind Words About James Watson.&quot; <em>New Genetics and Society </em>24/2:157-173. August 2005.<br /> <br /> &quot;Scientific Imaginaries and Ethical Plateaus in Contemporary U.S.&nbsp; Toxicology&quot; (with Kim Fortun), <em>American Anthropologist </em>107(1):43-54. March 2005.<br /> <br /> &quot;The Use of Race Variables in Genetic Studies of Complex Traits and the Goal of Reducing Health Disparities&quot; (with Evelynn Hammonds, Patricia King, Caryn Lerman, Rayna Rapp, Alexandra Shields, and Patrick Sullivan), <em>American Psychologist</em> 60 (1):77-103. January 2005.<br /> <br /> &quot;Celera Genomics: The Race for the Human Genome Sequence.&quot;&nbsp; <em>Encyclopedia of Human Genetics.</em>&nbsp; London: Macmillan, 2003. (http://www.naturereference.com/ehg/ehg.htm) </p>