Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is affiliated with the Department of the History of Science and Harvard Law School. Previously, she was Professor of Science Policy and Law at Cornell University and founding chair of Cornell’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. At Harvard, she founded and directs the Kennedy School’s Program on Science, Technology and Society (STS). In 2002, she founded the Science and Democracy Network, an international community of STS scholars dedicated to improving scholarly understanding of the relationships among science, technology, law, and political power.
Jasanoff has been a pioneer in building the field of Science and Technology studies (STS). Through her many administrative, pedagogical, and editorial roles, she has helped define the field for a generation of younger scholars in STS. Her works on law and science, risk management, the comparative politics of regulation, and science in environmental decisionmaking count as basic texts on those topics.
Jasanoff’s research centers on the interactions of law, science, and politics in democratic societies. She is particularly concerned with the construction of public reason in various cultural contexts, and with the role of science and technology in national and global institutions. She has written more than 120 articles and book chapters on these topics and has authored and edited more than fifteen books, including Controlling Chemicals: The Politics of Regulation in Europe and the United States (1985; with R. Brickman and T. Ilgen), Risk Management and Political Culture (1985), and The Fifth Branch: Science Advisers as Policymakers (1990). Her book Science at the Bar: Law, Science and Technology in America (1995) received the Don K. Price award of the American Political Science Association, Section on Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics, for the best book on science and politics (1998). A comparative study of the politics of biotechnology in Britain, Germany and the United States, entitled Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States, was published by Princeton University Press in 2005. Her latest book, The Ethics of Invention, appeared with Norton in 2016.
Jasanoff is a co‑editor of the second Handbook of Science and Technology Studies (1995). Other significant edited volumes include: Learning from Disaster: Risk Management After Bhopal (1994); States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order (2004); Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (with Marybeth Martello, 2004); Reframing Rights: Bioconstitutionalism in the Genetic Age (2011), and Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power (with Sang-Hyun Kim, 2016). A book of her collected essays, Science and Public Reason, appeared with Routledge in 2012. Her work has been translated into several languages, including French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Jasanoff has been a visiting professor at Yale University (1990‑91), Boston University School of Law (1993), Harvard University (1995), Kyoto University (1999), and MIT (2009). She was the Miegunyah Fellow at Melbourne Law School (2016), Leverhulme Visiting Professor in Geography and History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge (UK) (2005-2007), and Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College and the Centre for Socio‑Legal Studies, Oxford University (1996, 1986). She is a Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. She has held short-term visiting appointments at Paris Sciences et Lettres (2014), the University of Vienna (2009), the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) (2008-2012), the European School of Molecular Medicine in Milan (2008, 2010), and the University of Sussex (2007). She was a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2001-2002 and the Karl W. Deutsch Guest Professor at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin in 2004. In 1996, she was a Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center.
Jasanoff has served as editorial adviser to numerous journals and book series, including Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Values, Minerva, Risk Analysis, Science Communication, Social Studies of Science, and Science, Technology, and Human Values. She was Section Editor for Science and Technology Studies of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. She co-edits the MIT Press book series on Politics, Science, and the Environment.
Jasanoff received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship in 2010 and the Austrian Government’s Ehrenkreuz for service to arts and sciences in 2008. She is a recipient of the University of Ghent’s George Sarton medal and chair in the history of science (2011). In 2006, she was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Twente. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and recipient of the John Desmond Bernal award of the Society for Social Studies of Science (2004) and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Society for Risk Analysis (1992). She is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (since 2015). Among her many distinguished lectures are the Miegunyah Lecture (Melbourne, 2016), Gifford Lecture (Edinburgh 2016), Buchdahl lecture (North Carolina State 2013), the Messenger lectures (Cornell 2008), the Leverhulme lectures (Cambridge 2007), the John Passmore lecture (Australian National University 2005), and the Mullins lecture (Virginia Tech 2003).
Jasanoff has held numerous offices in the Society for Social Studies of Science, including President (1999-2001). She was a member of the AAAS‑ABA National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists (1985‑91) and the Board of Directors of AAAS (1996‑2000). She has been a member of the Kuratorium of the University of Bielefeld and adviser to the UK’s Science in Society program. She chaired the International Jury for the Austrian START-Wittgenstein awards from 2006 to 2011. She has served on advisory committees and panels of the US National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine, as well as international research agencies in the United Kingdom and Germany. She has been a consultant to many science policy organizations, including the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Office of Technology Assessment, the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Medicine, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Battelle‑Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology.
Jasanoff holds an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard College (1964), an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Bonn, Germany (1966), a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Harvard University (1973), and a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1976).
Jasanoff was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1977. From 1976 to 1978 she was an associate with Bracken, Selig and Baram, an environmental law firm in Boston. She was employed at Cornell University from 1978 to 1998, and has been at Harvard since 1998.