An acclaimed sociologist, Alondra Nelson explores questions in science, technology, and social inequality. Nelson's work offers a critical and innovative approach to the social sciences in fruitful dialogue with many disciplines. Her major research contributions are situated at the intersection of racial formation and social citizenship, on the one hand, and emerging scientific and technological phenomena, on the other. She explores and connects these dimensions in a range of publications, including Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh Tu), Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee), Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. She is currently at work on a book about science politics in the Obama administration. A member of the editorial boards of Social Studies of Science and Public Culture, her essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Le Nouvel Observateur, and on National Public Radio, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and PBS NewsHour, among other venues.
Alondra Nelson has been appointed by President Joe Biden to the position of Deputy Director for Science and Society in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Nelson is the first person in this role, which brings social science expertise explicitly into the work of federal science and technology strategy and policy.