Rachel E. Prentice

Associate Professor


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.

Research Focus

  • Anthropology of science, technology, and medicine
  • The body at the interface of medicine and information technologies
  • Multi-disciplinary research worlds
  • Social and cultural theory


  • 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.

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STS Courses - Spring 2024

BSOC Courses - Spring 2024