Stanford Experts

S. Lochlann Jain

Professor of Anthropology


(650) 714-2553



Professor Jain’s research is primarily concerned with the ways in which stories get told about injuries, from car crashes to lung cancer, from mountain climbing deaths to space shuttle explosions. Figuring out the political and social significance of these stories has led Jain to the study of medicine, law, product design, medical error and histories of engineering, regulation, corporations and advertising. Jain’s book, “Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us” (University of California Press, 2013), aims to better understand American life and culture through cancer. Nearly half of all Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetimes with an invasive cancer — an all-too common component of American life. Through a combination of history, memoir and cultural analysis, “Malignant” explores why cancer remains so confounding, despite the billions of dollars spent in the search for a cure. Jain’s widely reviewed book, “Injury” (Princeton University Press, 2006), analyzes how some products come to be understood as dangerous, while others are perceived as inert (guns don’t kill people) – and how these legal and social understandings can help us better understand social and economic disparities as well as reflect on a history in which notions of responsibility and negligence have radically changed.