Alison Cool
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Information Science

Alison Cool is a cultural anthropologist and her teachings and research focus on science, medicine, and technology. She is especially interested in digital technologies, data ethics, and how people think about privacy and surveillance.

She conducts fieldwork in Sweden exploring how people live and work with data. Her main project right now is an ethnographic study of how experts, professionals, and activists go about the ethical and pragmatic work of protecting and sharing personal data. This project compares the everyday work of people who produce privacy and security in Sweden with the protections offered in transnational data regulation. The aim of this research is to identify discrepancies between data law and data practice and to understand how people develop ethical relationships with data.

She also researches and writes about how behavioral economists see the world and the role of twins as scientific and medical research subjects.

Selected Course Offerings:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Politics of Data and Numbers, Cultures of Expertise, Ethnography of Scandinavia, Science Technology and Society

Selected Publications

2016 “Detaching data from the state: Biobanking and building Big Data in Sweden,” BioSocieties, 11(3): 277-295.

2016 “Laboratories.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John L. Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press.

2015 “Agreeing Together: Comment on Alain Marciano’s Freedom, Choice, and Consent,” Homo Oeconomicus 32(2): 297-300.

2015 “Twin Astronauts: The Perfect Research Subjects,” Platypus, 15 September.

2014 “Twins, nature and nurture,” BioSocieties, 9(2), 225-227.

2014 “Scandinavia,” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John L. Jackson, Jr. New York: Oxford University Press.