Abby Kinchy

Professor and Department Head


Abby Kinchy is a sociologist, working in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS).

Education & Training

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Sociology and Rural Sociology, August 2007

Master of Science, University of Wisconsin, Sociology and Rural Sociology, Fall 2002

Bachelor of Science, Vassar College, Science, Technology and Society, Spring 1996


Professor Kinchy's research currently addresses three main topics: 1) public participation in scientific research, 2) subterranean resource politics, and 3) the governance of environmental pollution. Across all these topics, she examines how knowledge is created and mobilized, whether by polluting industries, institutions of democratic governance, or the diverse publics affected by technological change. Her first book was Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops (MIT, 2012), which concerned the question of genetic “contamination” of traditional plant varieties in Mexico and Canada. Subsequently, she led the Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project, which examined the practices and politics of volunteer stream monitoring in the context of shale gas development, or "fracking." This project led her to co-organize STS Underground, a research network that advances social science research on the technoscientific dimensions of mining, burial, and other forms of subterranean exploration. Expanding on the lessons learned in these projects, she co-authored a book on “citizen science” with Aya H. Kimura, called Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge (Rutgers, 2019). Her newest project, Nuestros Suelos/Our Soil, explores how citizen science could help urban communities to identify heavy metal contamination in soil and to advocate for solutions.


Current Courses

Food, Farms, and Famine

Investigating Society

Science and Technology Policy (grad)

Community-Engaged STS (grad)

Advising & Mentoring

Professor Kinchy advises students majoring in STS, Sustainability Studies, and Design, Innovation and Society.

She also mentors PhD students in STS and has chaired the following dissertation projects:

Hined Rafeh, Genetic Screening at Home: Interpretive Policy Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing. Anticipated graduation May 2023.

Nathaniel (Bucky) Stanton, The Cultural Politics of the Arkadian Underground: Archaeological Pasts, Energy Futures, and Imaginaries of Late Modernity. Anticipated graduation May 2023.

Leo Bachinger, Extreme Heat Governance for Rural Agricultural Communities. Graduation August 2020.

Rebecca Jablonksy, Mindful, Technically: Mindfulness Meets Digital Technology. Graduation August 2020.

Laura Rabinow, Persistent: Why New York State and the United States Still Don’t Regulate PFOA. Graduation August 2019.

Guy Schaffer, Building Utopias with Tomorrow’s Trash: A Study of Projected Futures and Distributed Infrastructure Design in the New York City Waste Stream. Graduation August 2016

Kirk Jalbert, Promising Data for Public Empowerment: A Study of Grassroots Water Monitoring Practices for Pollution from the Natural Gas Industry. Graduation August 2015

Sean Ferguson, Plastics without Petroleum: The Politics of ‘Green’ Bioplastics in the United States. Graduation December 2012

Anna Lamprou, Toxic Chemicals, Environmental Organizations, and the Governance of Science and Technology in the EU and the US: The Case of Nanotechnology, Graduation December 2012



Kimura, Aya H. and Abby Kinchy (2019) Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Kinchy, Abby J. (2012) Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Recent Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Walls, Dan, Abby Kinchy, Tal Margalit, Mónica D. Ramírez-Andreotta, and Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro (2022) "Confronting legacy lead in soils in the United States: Community-engaged researchers doing undone science." Environmental Science & Policy 128: 165-174.

Blacker, Sarah, Aya H. Kimura, and Abby Kinchy (2021). "When citizen science is public relations." Social Studies of Science 51, no. 5: 780-796.

Lehman, Jessica, and Abby Kinchy (2021). "Bringing climate politics home: Lived experiences of flooding and housing insecurity in a natural gas boomtown." Geoforum 121: 152-161.

Delborne, Jason A., Dresden Hasala, Aubrey Wigner, and Abby Kinchy (2020) “Dueling Metaphors, Fueling Futures: ‘Bridge Fuel’ Visions of Coal and Natural Gas in the United States.” Energy Research and Social Science 61 (online first November 2019): 101350.

Kinchy, Abby (2020) “Contentious Baselining: The Politics of ‘Pre-Drilling’ Environmental Measures in Shale Gas Territory.” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 3(1): 76-94.

Kimura, Aya H. and Abby Kinchy (2020) “Citizen Science in North American Food Systems: Lessons Learned.” Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 5(1): 4- DOI:

Kinchy, Abby (2020) “STS Currents against the ‘Anti-Science’ Tide.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 6: 76-80

The following is a selection of recent publications in Scopus. Abby Kinchy has 34 indexed publications in the subjects of Social Sciences, Environmental Science, and Energy.

Dan Walls, Abby Kinchy, Tal Margalit, Mónica D. Ramírez-Andreotta, Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro
Environmental Science and Policy
, 128
, 2022
, pp.165-174
Sarah Blacker, Aya H. Kimura, Abby Kinchy
Social Studies of Science
, 51
, 2021
, pp.780-796
Abby Kinchy
Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
, 3
, 2020
, pp.76-94
Jason A. Delborne, Dresden Hasala, Aubrey Wigner, Abby Kinchy
Energy Research and Social Science
, 61
, 2020
Aya H. Kimura, Abby Kinchy
Citizen Science: Theory and Practice
, 5
, 2020
Abby Kinchy, Guy Schaffer
Science Technology and Human Values
, 43
, 2018
, pp.1011-1038
Kathryn J. Brasier, Kirk Jalbert, Abby J. Kinchy, Susan L. Brantley, Colleen Unroe
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
, 60
, 2017
, pp.2103-2121
Rebecca Harrison, Abby Kinchy, Laura Rabinow
The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science
, 2017
, pp.213-223

View All Scopus Publications

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