Rayna Rapp

Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D. 1973, M.S. 1969, B.S. with honors, 1968, University of Michigan.

Office Address: Rufus D. Smith Hall 25 Waverly Place New York, NY 10003


Phone: 212-998-8585

Fax: 212-995-4014

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Research/Interest

Gender, reproduction, health and culture, science and technology, United States and Europe.

Selected Publications

2013      “Entangled Ethnography: Imagining a Future for Young Adults with Learning Disabilities” (with Faye Ginsburg) special issue of Social Science & Medicine 99: 187-193.

2013      “Disability Worlds”, Annual Rev Anthropology (with Faye Ginsburg).42: 53-68.

2012      “Disability Worlds” in Marcia Inhorn and Emily Wertzel, eds. Medical Anthropology at the Crossroads.  Duke Univ. Press: 163-182.. (with Faye Ginsburg)

2011      “Reproductive Entanglements: Body, State and Culture in the Dys/Regulation of Child-Bearing” (Review Essay). Social Research 78: 693-718.

2011      “A Child Surrounds This Brain: the Future of Neurological Difference According to Scientists, Parents, and Diagnosed Young Adults in Martyn Pickersgill & Ira Vankeulen eds., Sociological Reflections on the Neurosciences. London: Emerald: 3-26.

2011      “Reverberations: Disability and the Kinship Imaginary”. Anthropological Quarterly, 84 (2): 379-410. (with Faye Ginsburg)

2011      “Chasing Science: Children’s Brains, Scientific Technologies, Family Participation” Science, Technology & Human Values, 36 (5): 662-684.

2011      “The Paradox of Recognition: Success or Stigma for Children with Learning Disabilities”.  In Janice McLaughlin et al, eds. Recognition and Citizenship. Palgrave. (with Faye Ginsburg), pp 166-186.

2010      “The Human Nature of Disability”. American Anthropologist Dec. 112 (4) 518. (with Faye Ginsburg).

2010      “The Social Distribution of Moxie” Disability Studies Quarterly June 30 (2): 1-12. (with Faye Ginsburg)

2010      “Enabling Disability: Rewriting Kinship, Reimagining Citizenship” in Lennard J. Davis, ed, The Disability Studies Reader, 3rd ed. NY: Routledge, pp. 237-253 (with Faye Ginsburg). Reprint of 2001.

2007      “Anthropologists Are Talking About Feminist Anthropology: Louise Lamphere, Rayna Rapp, Gayle Rubin”. Roundtable, Ethnos 72 (3): 408-426

2007:     “Enlarging Reproduction, Screening Disability” in Marcia Inhorn, ed. Disrupted Reproduction.BergenHahn Press: 98-121. (with Faye Ginsburg).

2007      “Imagining Gender Futures”. Anthropology Newsletter May 48 (5) 5-6.

2006      “Reason to Believe”, special issue on IVF & religion, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry  30 (4):

2006      “The Thick Social Matrix for Bioethics: Anthropological Approaches ” in Christoph  Rehmann-Sutter et al, eds. Bioethics in Cultural Contexts: Reflections on Method and Finitude. Springer, pp. 341-351

2005      “Commentary: The Eclipse of the Gene and the Return of Divination” by Margaret Lock.  Current Anthropology 46: S64-65.

2005      “Race Variables in Genetic Studies: Complex Traits and the Goal of Reducing Health Disparities” (with Alexandra Shields, Michael Fortun, Evelynn Hammonds, Patricia King, Caryn Lerman, and Patrick Sullivan) American Psychologist, January, pp 77-103.

2004     “Genetic Citizenship” (with Deborah Heath and Karen Sue Taussig) David Nugent & Joan Vincent, eds. A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics. Blackwells, 152-167.

2003     “Cell Life and Death, Child Life and Death: Genomic Horizons, Genetic Disease, Family Stories” In Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock, eds.2003.  Remaking Life and Death. School of American Studies Press, 129-164.

2003     “Flexible Eugenics: Technologies of the Self in the Age of Genetics”. In Alan Goodman, Deborah Heath and Susan Lindee, eds. Genetic Nature/ Culture:  Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two Culture Divide (with Deborah Heath and Karen Sue Taussig), University of California Press, 58-76.

2001     “Genealogical Dis-ease: Where Hereditary Abnormality, Biomedical Explanation, and Family Responsibility Meet”.  In Sarah Franklin and Susan McKinnon, eds. Relative Values: Reconfiguring Kinship Studies. Duke University Press, pp. 384-409. (with Deborah Heath and Karen Sue Taussig)

2001     “Gender, Body, Biomedicine: How Some Feminist Concerns Dragged Reproduction to the Center of Social Theory”.  Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 15 (4): 466-477.

2001     “Enabling Disability: Rewriting Kinship, Reimagining Citizenship”  Public Culture 13: 533-556 (with  Faye Ginsburg)

Current News/Projects
Updated June 2014

For the last six years, Faye Ginsburg and I have pursued a research project on cultural innovation in special education in New York City; we were fortunate to receive initial funding from both the Spencer Foundation and NYU’s Institute for the Study of Human Development and Social Change.  In addition to our joint work among media, legal, and educational innovators on this growing sector, I am now conducting fieldwork in scientific laboratories on brain research about learning, memory, childhood psychiatric diagnoses and epigenetics.  Of course, kinship relations lie at the heart of our project, and we are interviewing families across a wide array of social locations who have had the experience of having a child diagnosed with special educational categories and services.  We see this as a particularly promising arena for understanding unanticipated cultural activism around gender, racial-ethnic, class and kinship claims on citizenship.  Our new fieldwork concerns the rise of disability consciousness.  We argue for an explicitly anthropological perspective on the growing public awareness and mediated diversity of “All Kinds of Minds” (to quote a famous and popular book on the subject) in U.S. families and communities.  One of my contributions to this research involves intensive fieldwork at a pediatric neuroscience laboratory, where theories about childhood ADHD, Learning Disabilities, and other conditions are increasingly being folded into collaborations to produce “Big Data” on “Small Kids”.

Forthcoming articles co-authored with Faye Ginsburg include:

2014 “’Not Dead Yet’: Changing Disability Imaginaries in the 21st Century” in Veena Das and Clara Han, eds, An Anthropology of Living and Dying. Univ. California Press (with Faye Ginsburg).

2014 “Screening Disabilities: Atypical Minds in the early 21st Century” in Nancy Hoffman et al eds, Civil Disabilities, Univ Penn. Press. (with Faye Ginsburg)

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