Welcome to the Sociology Department

kempner 2018Joanna Kempner
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2004

Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
26 Nichol Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

Office: Davison Hall, 134
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Joanna Kempner, associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University and affiliate member of Rutgers’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, works at the intersection of medicine, science, gender, and the body. Kempner’s research investigates knowledge production as cultural work, inscribed with and shaped by tacit assumptions about social relations across gender, race, and class. Her award-winning book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014), examines the social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. In addition to studying how social relations shape the production of knowledge, she is also on the vanguard of research investigating how the social world shapes what we do not know or what scholars are now calling “agnotology.” She is currently writing a book about citizen scientists who use psychedelic medicine to treat pain. Recently, psychedelic medicine has gained the attention of policymakers and academics, paving the way for a growing number of FDA-approved clinical trials on psychedelics, cannabis, and MDMA.

Professor Kempner received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, participated in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program and worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University. She has won several awards for her research, including the 2016 American Sociological Association’s Eliot Freidson award for Outstanding Publication in Medical Sociology, the 2016 Eileen Basker Memorial Prize, awarded by the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Rutgers Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence, one of Rutgers’ highest honors. She writes for a wide variety of audiences, publishing in journals like ScienceSocial Science & MedicineGender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine. You can follow her on twitter at @joannakempner or read about her work on her website at www.joannakempner.com


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