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Department of Science and Technology Studies

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Science and Technology Studies

Kathleen Vogel




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Kathleen Vogel

Associate Professor
Department of Science & Technology Studies/Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies

phone: 607-255-3810
room: 330 Rockefeller and 130 Uris Hall

Office Hours, Spring 2014: 

F: 3:00-5:00 or by appointment 160 Uris Hall


  • Ph.D., Chemistry (Bio-inorganic/ Bio-physical), Princeton University
  • M.A., Chemistry, Princeton University
  • B.A., Chemistry, Drury College

Graduate Fields:

  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Peace Studies and Peace Science
  • Institute for Public Affairs


Research Interests

Professor Kathleen Vogel studies the production of knowledge on technical security policy issues.  Her book with The Johns Hopkins University Press, Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?  A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats, examines the social context and processes of how U.S. governmental and non-governmental analysts produce knowledge about contemporary biological weapons threats.  Drawing on theoretical perspectives from the S&TS field, the book examines a series of historical and contemporary case studies involving state and non-state actors. These case studies reveal important taken-for-granted assumptions and blind spots in how knowledge about biological weapons has been produced. These shortcomings have lead to failures in how U.S. bioweapons assessments have been conducted, interpreted, and used for national security policymaking. Involving close engagement with scientific practice, policymaking, and S&TS scholarship, the book proposes a new way of analyzing bio weapons-related technologies and broader WMD threats using a synthesis of technical and social science methodologies. 

New Books in Science, Technology, and Society has posted a new item on Professor Vogel's book: "Kathleen M. Vogel's new book is enlightening and inspiring. Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?: A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) uses an approach grounded in deep ethnographic analysis of exemplary case studies to explore the recent and contemporary practices performed by US governmental and non-governmental analysts when considering bioweapons threats. You may view the latest post at

Recent Courses Taught

  • Spring 2014 - (BSOC/STS 4391)  The Science of Spying: S&TS in U.S. Intelligence
    M: 10:10-12:05, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2013 - (BSOC/STS 3011) Life Sciences and Society
    MW: 2:55-4:10, 4 Credits

  • Spring 2013 - (BSOC/STS 2051) Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
    MWF: 8:00-8:50, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2012 - (STS 6241) Science, Technology, and International Security
    M: 2:30-4:25, 4 Credits

  • Spring 2011 - (BSOC/STS 4711) The Dark Side of Biology: Biological Weapons, Bioterrorism, & Biocriminality
    M: 2:30-4:25, by Permission only, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2010 - (BSOC/STS 2051) Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
    MW: 8:40-9:55 + DIS, 4 Credits

  • Spring 2010 - (STS 2011) What is Science? An Introduction to the Social Studies of Science & Technology
    MW: 10:10-11:00 + Section, 3 Credits

Selected Publications

  • "The Social Context Shaping Bioweapons (Non)Proliferation," (with Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley). In Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science.  Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 2010), pp. 9-24.

  • "Biodefense: Considering the Socio-Technical Dimension," in Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question, Andrew Lakoff and Stephen J. Collier (eds.).  New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
  • "Iraqi Winnebagos of Death: Imagined and Realized Futures of U.S. Bioweapons Threat Assessments," Science and Public Policy, Vol. 35, No. 8 (October 2008) 561-573.

  • "Framing Biosecurity: An Alternative to the Biotech Revolution Model?"  Science and Public Policy, Vol. 35, No. 1 (February 2008): 45-54.

  • "Bioweapons Proliferation: Where Science Studies and Public Policy Collide," Social Studies of Science, Vol. 36, No. 5 (2006): 659-690.