Elizabeth Armstrong

Sociology and Public Affairs
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I teach in the sociology department and the Woodrow Wilson School; I’m also a faculty associate at the Office of Population Research, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. My research focuses on the history and sociology of medicine; I’m especially interested in ideas about risk and reproduction. The core questions that drives my work are “How do culture and medicine influence each other?” and “How do we know what we know?” My first book, Conceiving Risk, Bearing Responsibility: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Diagnosis of Moral Disorder (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003) examined the history of ideas about pregnancy and drinking. I’m currently working on projects that explore the bimodal approach to birth (e.g. the high rate of C-section births and formula feeding in hospitals that are also being asked to take more "natural" approaches to neonatal care). I’ve also written papers on adolescent mothers, medical mistakes, agenda setting in the mass media, bioethics, pregnancy, childbirth, and the profession of obstetrics. I teach undergraduate classes on the sociology of medicine and culture and reproduction. I have a B.A. in English from Yale, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School, and a Ph.D. in sociology and demography from the University of Pennsylvania. In my next life, I’m planning to be a pastry chef. I also love to run (slowly: think tortoise, not hare), knit and read poetry. You may see me with my 11-year-old daughter, Lilly, and my 6-year-old son, Henry, around town or in the dining hall, where we are frequent patrons of the frozen yogurt machine. Join us for dinner if you don’t mind a little extra chaos!

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