Professor Jain's research is primarily concerned with the ways in which stories get told about injuries, from car crashes to lung cancer, from mountain climbing deaths to space shuttle explosions. Figuring out the political and social significance of these stories has led her to the study of medicine, law, product design, medical error, and histories of engineering, regulation, corporations, and advertising.

Jain’s book, Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (University of California Press, 2013), aims to better understand American life and culture through cancer. Nearly half of all Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetimes with an invasive cancer -- an all-too common component of American life. Through a combination of history, memoir, and cultural analysis, Malignant explores why cancer remains so confounding, despite the billions of dollars spent in the search for a cure.

Her widely reviewed book, Injury, (Princeton University Press, 2006) analyzes how some products come to be understood as dangerous, while others are perceived as inert (guns don’t kill people) -- and how these legal and social understandings can help better understand social and economic disparities as well as reflect on a history in which notions of responsibility and negligence have radically changed.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor, Anthropology

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Professor, Stanford University, Department of Anthropology (2010 - Present)
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford University, Department of Anthropology (2000 - 2010)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law (1999 - 2000)
  • Fellow, Clayman Institute for Gender Research (2012 - 2013)
  • Fellow, Stanford Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences (2011 - 2011)
  • Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities (2010 - 2010)
  • Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2009 - 2009)
  • Rockefeller Fellowship, National Humanities Center (2005 - 2005)
  • Fellow, Program on Urban Studies, Stanford University (2001 - 2001)
  • Fellowship, Marilyn Yalom Research (2001 - 2001)
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Killam Foundation (1999 - 1999)
  • Fellowship, History of Consciousness Board/UC Regents (1995 - 1997)
  • Graduate Fellowship, Rotary International (1990 - 1990)

Honors & Awards

  • Course Development Award, Science, Technology and Society, Stanford University (2012)
  • Course Development Award, Ethics Program, Stanford University (2006)
  • Cultural Horizons Award, Society for Cultural Anthropology (2005)
  • Course Development Award, Ethics Program, Stanford University (2002)
  • Post-doctoral Award, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1999)
  • Sir James McGill Scholarship, McGill University (1987 - 1989)
  • Faculty Scholar in Philosophy Department, McGill University (1986 - 1989)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Panel Organizer with Sharon Kaufman, International Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology, Yale University (2009 - 2009)
  • Reviewer, Configurations
  • Reviewer, Isis
  • Reviewer, Medical Anthropology
  • Reviewer, Journal of Consumer Culture
  • Reviewer, Cultural Anthropology
  • Reviewer, American Ethnologist
  • Reviewer, PoLAR
  • Reviewer, City & Society
  • Reviewer, Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • Reviewer, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
  • Reviewer, Rutgers University Press
  • Reviewer, Duke University Press
  • Reviewer, Minnesota University Press
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, PoLAR (2005 - 2008)
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Subjectivities (2008 - 2012)
  • Co-founder, Oxidate Working Group (2007)
  • Board Member, INCITE mobility project, University of Surrey (2001 - 2008)
  • Member, American Anthropological Association (1999)
  • Member, Association of American Studies (1999)
  • Member, Society for the History of Science & Technology (SHOT) (1998)
  • Member, Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) (1998)
  • Undergraduate Pre-Major Advisor, Stanford University
  • Member, Committee on Undergraduate Admissions, Stanford University
  • Member, Executive Committee on The Program for Science and Technology Studies, Stanford University
  • Member, Curriculum Committee, Stanford University

Program Affiliations

  • Science, Technology and Society

Professional Education

  • PhD, University of California at Santa Cruz (1999)
  • MPhil, University of Glasgow (1991)
  • BA, McGill University (1989)

2021-22 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us Jain, S. L. University of California Press. 2013
  • Survival Odds Mortality in Corporate Time CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Jain, S. L. 2011; 52: S45-S55

    View details for DOI 10.1086/656795

    View details for Web of Science ID 000289723000005

  • Medical Time Introduction of Medical Anthropology Quarterly Jain, S. L., Kaufman, S. 2011
  • Loss of Hope in Cancer Litigation Loyola Law Review Jain, S. L. 2011
  • The Mortality Effect: Counting the Dead in the Cancer Trial PUBLIC CULTURE Jain, S. L. 2010; 22 (1): 89-117
  • Countering Time: The Medical Apology The Subject of Responsibility edited by Sarat, A. Fordham University Press. 2010
  • Be Prepared Against Health edited by Metzl, J., Kirkland, A. NYU Press. 2010
  • The Mortality Effect: Counting the Dead On the Government of Humanity: Environments, Technologies, Rights, and Relief edited by Feldman, I., Ticktin, M. Duke University Press. 2010
  • Surviving Terrorist Cells Academic Medicine Jain, S. L., Herzig, R. 2008
  • What's Random in the Controlled Trial? Report from meeting of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium The Source Jain, S. L. 2008
  • Cancer Butch CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Jain, S. L. 2007; 22 (4): 501-538
  • The medical malpractice myth (Book Review) LAW & SOCIETY REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Jain, S. 2007; 41 (3): 737-738
  • Living in prognosis: Toward an elegiac politics REPRESENTATIONS Lochlann Jain, S. 2007: 77-92
  • "A Value to Suffering," Review Essay of Rebecca Herzig's Suffering for Science American Studies Quarterly Jain, S. L. 2007
  • Car Safety: An Anthropological Analysis Safety Culture Jain, S. L. 2007
  • Object Obituary: Starbucks Paper Cup and Plastic Lid Ambidextrous Jain, S. L. 2006
  • "Projectile Economies," Review of the film "Crash," Journal of Transportation History Jain, S. L., Simons, D. 2006
  • Injury: The Politics of Product Design and Safety Law in the United States Jain, S. L. Princeton University Press. 2006
  • Violent submission - Gendered automobility CULTURAL CRITIQUE Jain, S. S. 2005: 186-214
  • Entry for Technology and Gender, Race and Class The Oxford Dictionary of Science, Technology and Society Jain, S. L. Oxford University Press. 2005
  • Come up to the Kool Taste': African American Upward Mobility and the Semiotics of Smoking Menthols Beyond the Frame edited by Davis, A., Tadiar, N. Pergamon Press. 2005
  • Urban Violence: Luxury in Made Space Mobile Technologies of the Future edited by Sheller, M., Urry, J. Taylor and Francis. 2005
  • "Dangerous instrumentality": The bystander as subject in automobility CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Jain, S. S. 2004; 19 (1): 61-94
  • The Italian Tailor's Job Girlfriends Jain, S. L. 2004
  • "Come up to the kool taste": African American upward mobility and the semiotics of smoking menthols PUBLIC CULTURE Jain, S. S. 2003; 15 (2): 295-322
  • Car cultures. (Book Review) AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST Book Review Authored by: Jain, S. S. 2002; 29 (3): 734-735
  • Urban Errands: The Means of Mobility Journal of Consumer Culture Jain, S. L. 2002; 2 (3): 385-404
  • Mysterious delicacies and ambiguous agents: Lennart Nilsson in National Geographic CONFIGURATIONS Jain, S. S. 1998; 6 (3): 373-394
  • Inscription Fantasies and Interface Erotics: Keyboards, Law, Repetitive Strain Injuries Hastings Journal of Women and Law Jain, S. L. 1998; 9 (2): 219-253
  • Prosthetic Pathology: Enabling and Disabling the Prosthesis Trope Science, Technology, and Human Values Jain, S. L. 1998; 24 (1): 31-54
  • Collecting National Geographic Magazine's Collection: Cultural Capital and the Wealth of Nations Frameworks: Communities on Display Jain, S. L. 1995
  • The Republic: A Study of a Tragic Flaw McGill Journal of Political Studies Jain, S. L. 1988; 7: 35-54