Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin

Princeton University


ruha (at) princeton.edu


Ruha Benjamin is an Assistant Professor at the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and a Faculty Associate in the Programs in the History of Science, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Global Health and Health Policy, Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the Department of Sociology.

Ruha Benjamin specializes in the interdisciplinary study of science, medicine, and biotechnology; race-ethnicity and gender; biopolitics and the sociology of knowledge. She is the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013), which examines the tension between innovation and equity in the context of state investment in stem cell research through the lens of “bioconstitutionalism.”

Her current work is moving in two directions: Provincializing Science: Mapping and Marketing ‘Difference’ After the Genome, investigates the scientific, commercial, and popular uptake of genomics in South Africa, India, and the United States, with a focus on how and why racial-ethnic and caste categories are incorporated in research on health disparities.

In Black to the Future: An Imagination Incubator, Ruha is experimenting with science fiction as a site of knowledge and praxis. This project includes academic courses, interdisciplinary conferences, public workshops, and publications that explore how arts, activism, and scholarship can be integrated in research and design of “sociotechnical imaginaries”.

Ruha received her B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Spelman College, M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics and Harvard University’s Science, Technology, and Society Program. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine among others. She is also an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Selected Publications