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Department of Science and Technology Studies

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell University Science and Technology Studies

Rachel Prentice




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Rachel Prentice

Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Science & Technology Studies

Rachel Prenticeemail:
phone: 607-255-3810
room: 315 Morrill Hall

Office Hours, Fall 2016:
M 1:30 - 3:30, T 3:30 - 4:30 or by appointment


  • Ph.D., History and Anthropology of Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • A.B., Comparative Literature, Columbia College, Columbia University

Graduate Fields:

  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Information Science
  • Department of Anthropology


Research Interests

Professor Rachel Prentice is an anthropologist of medicine, technology, and the body. Her interests focus on opening up the assumptions and contradictions contained in 21st century North American biomedicine. Her recently completed project is an ethnographic examination of anatomy and surgery teaching and the rise of simulators and other technologies for teaching and practice. Professor Prentice documents how physicians in training come to embody biomedical techniques, perceptions, judgments, and ethics, learning deeply held medical values while learning to practice medicine. 

Recent Courses Taught

  • Spring 2015 - (BSOC/STS 20151) Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
    TR: 1:25-2:40, 4 Credits

  • Spring 2015 - (STS 6331) Anthropology of Biomedicine
    T: 7:30-9:25, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2014 - (STS 1102) Histories of the Future
    TR: 1:25-2:40, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2014 - (STS 6301) Social Theory
    T: 7:30-9:25 pm

  • Spring 2014 - (STS 3561) Computing Cultures
    TR: 10:10-11:25, 4 Credits

  • Spring 2014 - (STS 1101) Science, Technology, and Politics
    TR: 1:25-2:40, 3 Credits

  • Fall 2013 - (STS 4311) From Surgery to Simulation
    T: 10:10-12:05, 4 Credits

  • Fall 2013 - (STS 6331) Anthropology of Biomedicine
    M: 10:10-12:05, 4 Credits

Selected Publications

  • Bodies in Formation: Remaking Anatomy and Surgery Education.  Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

  • "The Anatomy of a Surgical Simulation" (abridged) in Ericka Johnson and Boel Berner, eds., Technology and Medical Practices: Blood, Guts, and Machines.  London: Ashgate Publishing, 2010. 

  • "The Visible Human Project," in Sherry Turkle, editor, The Inner History of Devices.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.

  • "Drilling Surgeons: The Social Lessons in Embodied Surgical Learning," Science, Technology & Human Values, 32(5) September 2007.

  • "The Anatomy of a Surgical Simulation: Materializing Bodies in the Machine." Social Studies of Science, 35(6) December 2005.