Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Kellie Owens

Kellie Owens

kellie_owens (at)

Kellie Owens was a Visiting Research Fellow with the Program on Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the fall of 2015. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Sociology and Science in Human Culture at Northwestern University. Her current research examines changing risk management philosophies and practices in medicine, with a focus on American obstetrics. While at Harvard, Kellie worked on a related article on the boundaries of responsible knowledge in medicine. The article uses the case of electronic fetal heart rate monitoring during labor and delivery to explore how medical providers are reacting to data suggesting that monitoring technology is not improving health outcomes and may be leading to unnecessary interventions.

Kellie’s larger dissertation project includes a comparative analysis of how the risk perceptions and management styles of American birth providers are influenced by their institutional, legal, and professional contexts. Through this research, she shows how risk countercultures in medicine complicate the common biomedical narrative suggesting that health risks are best managed through increasing surveillance and technological intervention.

Kellie received her M.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2012. Her master’s research focused on the way complementary and alternative health providers present evidence to garner institutional support for their practices. A related article was recently published in Social Science and Medicine. Kellie received her B.A. in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State University in 2010. While at Michigan State, her research focused on historical debates about the ethics of reproductive technologies in the United States.


Owens, Kellie. 2015. “Boundary Objects in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Christian Science vs. Acupuncture.” Social Science and Medicine 128: 18-24.
Owens, Kellie. “’Colorblind Science?’ The perceived importance of racial diversity in science research.” Spontaneous Generations, forthcoming 2015.

Note: The above information concerns a past fellow at the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School. It does not constituent evidence of current enrollment. The information may be out of date. To update their information, past fellows should e-mail the site administrator.