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STANFORD -- Joan H. Fujimura, associate professor of anthropology, has been named the Henry R. Luce Professor in Biotechnology and Society at Stanford.
The Luce professorships were established in 1969 to encourage academic innovation through an integrative approach to the humanities, the social sciences and related disciplines.
The creation of a Luce professorship in biotechnology and society is intended to establish a powerful interdisciplinary framework for dealing with the profound questions that have been generated in the areas of science policy and biomedical ethics by current biotechnological efforts such as the Human Genome Project.
The five-year award was announced by Henry Luce III, chairman and chief executive officer of the Luce Foundation.
Fujimura joined the Stanford faculty in September 1993. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Washington and her doctorate in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley in 1986. She has taught at Berkeley and at Harvard University.
Fujimura has made important contributions to the history and sociology of scientific knowledge through her studies of the interrelations of biotechnology, science and society. Her research focuses on how researchers in emerging fields at the intersection of biotechnology and science arrive at scientific consensus in the context of developing scientific practices.
She also has studied the social processes behind the revolution in cancer studies, where the introduction of oncogene theory in molecular biology in the early 1980s integrated a formerly heterogeneous set of postulated causes of cancer.
Fujimura's current research examines molecular biology as it is changing through its interaction with statistics, mathematics and computer technology. She also is engaged in a sociological study of representation at the interface of local practice and universal knowledge, specifically of Japanese biomedical classification and diagnostics. Fujimura is studying transnational and cultural aspects of the developments in biotechnology, biomedicine and science through research comparing such developments in Japan with those in the United States.
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