Michael MJ Fischer

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities (Anthropology and STS)


Michael MJ Fischer CV

Michael Fischer is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies, and Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.  He received his B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University (Liberal Arts/Geography, 1967) and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (Anthropology, 1973). He taught at the University of Chicago (1972-73), Harvard University (1973-1981) and Rice University (1981-1992). At Rice he served as Director of the Center for Cultural Studies (1986-1992). From 1996 to 2000 he was the Director of the MIT STS Program. He has been a Fulbright Lecturer in Brazil (1982), a Council for International Exchange of Scholars Fellow in India (1985), a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (1990), a Carnegie Fellow (2005), the Ngee Ann Kongsi Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore, and A Visiting Research Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (2010-20).

He is the author of ten books: two on Singapore and the wider Asian region; four on anthropology and contemporary society (cultural critique; emergent forms of life; futures; art and 21st century common sense); four on Iran (comparative religion; social revolution; cultural debate and critique; film, art and literature); co-editor of A Reader in Medical Anthropology, co-editor of a volume on the Post-Global City: Rethinking Urbanism, Development, and the Imaginary from Africa; and the co-editor of the Duke book series Experimental Futures.  He teaches courses on social theory, ethnography, psychological anthropology, film, law and ethics on the electronic frontier, social and ethical issues in the biosciences and technologies, and Colonial Encounters, Postcolonial Disorders.

Recent Publications

“Through the Artist’s Eyes: Forms of Creative Life in Rwanda” (with Aaliya Sadruddin). 2024 (forthcoming  HAU.

2023 At the Pivot of East and West: Ethnographic, Literary and Visual Arts, Duke.

2023 Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life, Duke.

2023 “Varieties of STS: Luminosities, Creative Commons, and Open Curation”.  Engaging Science,Technology and Society.

2022 “Hauntology’s Genesis, Catacoustics and Future Shadows”.  Afterword to Sadeq Rahimi’s Hauntology of Everyday Life.  New York: Palmgrave-Mcmillan.

2021 “Bacurau flies at dusk: film, viral cultural politics, Covid-19, hauntings and futures”. Anuario Antropologico, 46(1): 166-89.

2020  “Report on the Second International Conference on Global STS, Hsanuddin University, Makassar, 24-25 July 2019.”  News and Events Articles.   EASTS (East Asian Science, Technology and Society),  EASTS, 14:1.

2019 Challenging Art as Cultural Systems“. 2019 Clifford Geertz Memorial Lecture.  Princeton.  Cultural Anthropology Back Channels. 

2018  “What a Line (Drawing) Might Reveal: Hamid Naficy’s CaricaturesIran Namag: A Bilingual Quarterly of Iranian Studies.

2018 “Theorizing STS from Asia: Towards an STS multi-scale bioecology framework — A Blurred Genre Manifesto/Agenda for an Emergent Field.”  EASTS (East Asian Science, Technology and Society).

2018  “A Tale of Two Genome Institutes: Qualitative Networks, Charismatic Voices, and R&D Strategies— Juxtaposing GIS Biopolis [Singapore] and BGI [Shenzhen].Science, Technology, Society  (Sage).

2018 The Pedagogical Work of Film for Technology Disaster Studies: Reassessing Fukushima through film“. EASTS (East Asian Science, Technology and Society).

2017  “Urban Mahabharata: Health Care, Ordinary, Traditional, and Contemporary Ethics.”  Medical Anthropology Theory.  4(3).

2016  “Anthropological STS in Asia.” Annual Reviews in Anthropology.

2015  “Ethnography for Aging Societies: Dignity, Cultural Genres, and Singapore’s Imagined FuturesAmerican Ethnologist. 42(2): 207-229.

2015  “Anthropology of Science and Technology.” International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Elsevier.

2013  “Biopolis: Asian Science in the Global Circuitry”.  Science, Technology, Society (Sage), 18(3):379-404.

2011  “In the Science Zone II: the Fore, Papua New Guinea, and the Fight for Representation.” East Asian Science, Technology and Society (EASTS) 5:1-17.

2010  “Celebrating a New Generation of Ethnography: Raising the Tone (Harmonically) of Ethnographies of Iran and its Diasporas“. (Available on Academia.edu, and ResearchGate.net).

2010 The Rhythmic Beat of the Revolution in Iran.” Cultural Anthropology. 25(3): 497–543.

2007  “Ptolemaic Jouissance and the Anthropology of Kinship: a Commentary on Ager’s ‘The Power of Excess: Royal Incest and the Ptolemaic Dynasty.’ Anthropologica. 49(2):  295-99.

2005  “Persian Miniatures: I. Bahs (Debate) in Qum; II. Simulation in Tehran.”w  New Initiative for Middle East Peace (NIMEP) Insights, Vol. 1: 14-24.

2003  “Obituary: Lily Kay”  Isis.   (with S. Jansen and C. Weiner).




Recent Books


Anthropology in the Meantime: Experimental Ethnography, Theory, and Method for the Twenty-First Century (Experimental Futures)

Michael MJ Fischer

In Anthropology in the Meantime Michael M. J. Fischer draws on his real world, multi-causal, multi-scale, and multi-locale research to rebuild theory for the twenty-first century. Providing a history…


A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories, Emergent Realities (Blackwell Anthologies in Social and Cultural Anthropology) 1st Edition

Michael MJ Fischer

A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories, Emergent Realities brings together articles from the key theoretical approaches in the field of medical anthropology as well as related science and…

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