Michael MJ Fischer

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

E51-296B 617-253-2564

Recent Articles

2016 In Press

“Dense and Ageing: Social Sustainability of Public Places Amidst Hi-Density Development.” (with Keng Hua CHONG, Kien TO) in Bay, Philip Joo-Hwa, ed. Growing Compact: Urban Form, Density and Sustainability.

2016 In Press

"Urban Mahabharata: Health Care, Ordinary, Traditional, and Contemporary Ethics.” Medical Anthropology Theory.

2016 In Press

"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)

2016

"Anthropological STS in Asia.” Annual Reviews in Anthropology.

2015

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

2015

"Husayn.” Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, 2nd edition. New York: Macmillan Reference

2015

“Experimental Ethnography”. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.

2015

"Anthropology of Science and Technology.” International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

2015

“’Behaves Like a Rooster and Cries Like a [four eyed] Canine’: Nightmares, Depression, Psychiatry, & the Rise of Iranian Psychiatric Selves” (with Orkideh Behrouzan). In Devon E. Hinton and Alexander L. Hinton, eds. Genocide and Mass Violence. Cambridge University Press, pp105-36.

2015

“Time, Camera and the Digital Pen: Writing Culture Operating Systems 0.1- 0.3.” in Orin Starn, ed., Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology. Duke UP.

2015

“Listening with Veena Das to Ordinary Ethics.” Somatosphere. Feb. 12. http://somatosphere.net/2015/02/affliction.html

Reviews

2016

Krautwurst, Udo. 2014 Culturing Bioscience: A Case Study in the Anthropology of Science. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. American Anthropologist

2016

Fozi, Navid. Reclaiming the Fraravahar: Zoroastrian Survival in Contemporary Iran.” in Iranian Studies.

2015

Robinson, Brett T. Appletopia: Media Technology and the Religious Imagination of Steve Jobs in Technology and Culture. 56(1):291-293. DOI:10.1353/tech.2015.0000

2015

Mishal, Shaul and Ori Goldberg, 2014. Understanding Shiite Leadership: The Art of the Middle Ground in Iran and Lebanon. New York: Cambridge U.P. in Political Science Quarterly.

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 eight books: 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, and the co-editor of the book series at Duke 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

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

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 Caricatures” Iran 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).  http://medanthrotheory.org/issue/vol-4-3/

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

2015     “Ethnography for Aging Societies: Dignity, Cultural Genres, and Singapore’s Imagined Futures”]. American 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.” 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

2004

Mute Dreams, Blind Owls, and Dispersed Knowledges

Michael MJ Fischer

ver the past decade Iranian films have received enormous international attention, garnering both critical praise and popular success. Combining his extensive ethnographic experience in Iran and his broad command of critical theory, Michael M. J. Fischer argues that the widespread appeal of Iranian cinema is based in a poetics that speaks not only to Iran’s domestic cultural politics but also to the more general ethical dilemmas of a world simultaneously torn apart and pushed together.

2004

Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice

Michael MJ Fischer

Anthropology as Cultural Critique helped redefine cultural anthropology in the 1980s. Now, with Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice, pathbreaking scholar Michael M. J. Fischer moves the discussion to a consideration of the groundwork laid in the 1990s for engagements with the fast-changing worlds of technoscience, telemedia saturation, and the reconstruction of societies after massive trauma.

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