Core Department Faculty Member

  • Portrait
  • Joanna Kempner
  • Associate Professor
  • Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2004
  • Email:
  • Office: Davison Hall, 134
  • Personal Website
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Joanna Kempner, associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University, 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 cultural assumptions and social relations. Her award-winning book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014), examines the social values embedded in how we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. Kempner is also on the vanguard of research investigating what we do not know, aka the social production of ignorance. She is currently writing a book that tracks the role that citizen scientists are playing in the reemergence of psychedelic medicine.

    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 Science, Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine. You can follow her on twitter at @joannakempner or read about her work on her website at

  • In the Public Eye:
  • Faculty Article(s):
  • Collective self-experimentation in patient-led research: How online health communities foster innovation
  • Faculty Bookshelf:
  • Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health
  • Program Areas:
  • Culture and Cognition
  • Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
  • Health, Population, and Biomedicine