Cover of The Slumbering Masses.
Cover of The Slumbering Masses.

My first book-length project (which was my dissertation at the University of Minnesota) was on American sleep from the 19th through the turn of the 21st century, which all came together in The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and American Everyday Life. In addition to the book, there are a number of articles related to sleep, most of which aren’t integrated into the book (although small snippets are). These include:

Multibiologism: An Anthropological and Bioethical Framework for Moving Beyond Medicalization. Bioethics 34.2: 183-189.

“Human Nature” and the Biology of Everyday Life. American Anthropologist 121.2: 338-349.

with Celina Callahan-Kapoor. Chronic Subjunctivity, Or, How Physicians Use Diabetes and Insomnia to Manage Futures in the United States. Medical Anthropology 36.2: 83-95.

Can we Ever Know the Sleep of Our Ancestors? Sleep Health 2.1: 4-5.

Biomedicine, the Whiteness of Sleep and the Wages of Spatiotemporal Normativity. American Ethnologist 42.3: 446-458.

Myths of Modern American Sleep: Naturalizing Primordial Sleep, Blaming Technological Distractions, and Pathologizing Children. Science as Culture 24.2: 205-226.

Disclosure as Method, Disclosure as Dilemma In Disclosure in Health and Illness, edited by Lenore Manderson and Mark Davis. New York: Routledge, 104-119.

Therapy, Remedy, Cure: Disorder and the Spatiotemporality of Medicine and Everyday Life. Medical Anthropology 32.6: 1-16.

What’s So Natural About Sleep? Anthropology Now 5.3: 9-17.

Where Have All Our Naps Gone?, Or, Nathaniel Kleitman, the Eclipse of Napping, and the Historiography of Emergence. Anthropology of Consciousness 24.2: 96-116.

Natural Hegemonies: Sleep and the Rhythms of American Capitalism. Current Anthropology 52.6: 876-895.

The Nature of Sleep. Comparative Studies of Society and History 53.4: 945-970.

Fantasies of Extremes: Sports, War and the Science of Sleep. Biosocieties 4.2: 257-271.

Precipitating Pharmakologies and Capital Entrapments: Narcolepsy and the Strange Cases of Provigil and Xyrem. Medical Anthropology 28.1: 11-30.

Sleep, Signification, and the Abstract Body of Allopathic Medicine. Body & Society 14.3: 93-114.

You can also read some blog posts I did for Psychology Today, as well as other sundry sleep-related material on Somatosphere.


Theory for the World to Come is my foray into thinking about life during (and after) the Anthropocene. It draws on speculative fiction (Octavia Butler, Donal Dixon, Stephen Graham Jones, Orson Scott Card, John Wyndham, and more), action movies (Robocop and C.H.U.D.), and a variety of other influences (‘The Twilight Zone,’ George Clinton’s P-Funk). It’s all an attempt to think about the idioms of social theory that attempt to conceptualize the future and the challenges they face in doing so; and it’s an attempt to get people to start thinking about social theory from unlikely or suppressed sources in an effort to build a body of thought that counteracts dominant forms of social theory (which are largely diagnostic and pessimistic).

You can read a precis here, in response to a series on Speculative Anthropologies: The Necessary Tension between Science Fiction and Anthropology.


Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age builds on my earlier ethnographic work with neuroscientists and psychiatrists, and adds new research with psychoanalysts and other brain-related researchers to build an alternate history of neuroscience across the 20th century, particularly as it relates to ideas about communication, the person, and subjectivity. I juxtapose my engagements with these sciences of the brain to memoirs of ‘disorders’ of communication — autism, deafness, aphasia — to draw out assumptions about normalcy in mainstream American neuroscience and psychiatry. Please email me for a copy of the manuscript. It should be out in 2020.

Recomposing Kinship. Feminist Anthropology 1.2 (2020)

Neurological Disorders, Affective Bioethics, and the Nervous System: Reconsidering the Schiavo Case from a Materialist Perspective. Medical Humanities (forthcoming in 2020).

Facilitated Personhood. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 26.1: 167-186.

What Can We Do with Uncertainty? (a response to Des Fitzgerald’s Tracing Autism)

Our Master’s Voice, the Practice of Melancholy, and Minor Sciences. Cultural Anthropology 30.4: 670-691.

with Christopher Cochran. Unifying Minor Sciences and Minor Literatures: Reproduction and Revolution in Quantum Consciousness as a Model for the Anthropology of Science. Anthropological Theory 15.4: 407-433.


The next big project for me focuses on excrement in the U.S., particularly as a medical concern. Tentatively entitled The Colony Within: Excremental Medicine and the Politics of Race and like my other work that moves between the late 19th and 20th centuries and the present, the idea is to look at sites where shit has become of particular medical and political concern in the U.S. Lately, this has centered on the use of fecal microbial transplants to treat a variety of issues, but there is a long history of concern about shit, often wrapped up on public health and medical policing of marginal communities.

Normal, Regular, Standard: Colonizing the Body through Fecal Microbial Transplants (Medical Anthropology Quarterly 31.3, 2017)

Multitudes without Politics (a response to Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes)

Policing Shit, Or, Whatever Happened to the Medical Police? In The Anthropology of Policing, William Garriott & Kevin Karpiak, eds. New York: Routledge, 2018.


Becoming Impossible is my persistent backburner project. Years ago, I published a couple pieces on superhero comics, and I’ve been slowly working on a book manuscript about the impossibilities of the posthuman, which reads superhero comics alongside other posthuman imagery to think about how the posthuman is policed (e.g. how comic book fans respond negatively to things like homosexual superheroes). The two old pieces are:

Batman and Robin in the Nude, or Class and its Exceptions. Extrapolation, 47.3: 187-206.

The World Ozymandias Made: Utopias in Superhero Comics, Subculture, and the Preservation of Difference. Journal of Popular Culture 36.3: 497-517.

Other comic book related material include:

No Superheroes in Hollywood. Los Angeles Review of Books.

There are also occasional articles on U.S. politics, particularly from an anthropological perspective. These include:

American Normal: Situated Theory and American Anthropological Knowledge ProductionJournal for the Anthropology of North America 21.2: 44-57.

The Politics of Materiality, or “The Left is Always Late”. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 29.2: 254-275.

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