Alondra Nelson is Professor of Sociology and Dean of Social Science at Columbia University. She was previously on the faculty of Yale University and received its Poorvu Award for teaching excellence. On September 1, 2017, she will become President of the Social Science Research Council, an organization that has been dedicated to advancement of social research for the public good for more than nine decades. A sociologist who has published broadly on the intersections of science, technology and social inequality, her books include The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome, which will soon be available in an Arabic translation, and Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination, which was recognized with multiple scholarly awards and has been translated into French. Her publications also include Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee) and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh Tu). In 2002, she edited “Afrofuturism,” an influential special issue of Social Text.
Alondra is Chair-elect of the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. She has been a visiting fellow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie, the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Intitute at Harvard, and the BIOS Centre at the London School of Economics. Alondra has contributed to national policy discussions on inequality and about the social implications of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, and human gene-editing. She serves on the board of directors of the Data & Society Research Institute and the program committee of the YWCA of the City of New York, and sits on the editorial boards of Social Studies of Science, Social Text, and Public Culture. Her essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Science, and on National Public Radio, among other venues. Alondra is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at San Diego, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University. She lives in New York City.