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Joanna Kempner, Ph.D.
Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology


Joanna Kempner works at the intersection of medicine, science, gender, and the body. Her research focuses both on the formation of social problems and on the ways in which some issues are consistently ignored, dismissed, or delegitimated. Her book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014) examines the social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. She has also written extensively on the formation of “forbidden knowledge,” i.e. the boundaries that form around what we think is too dangerous, sensitive or taboo to research. She is currently working on several projects related to the politics of disease.

Professor Kempner received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Rutgers, Professor Kempner was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Michigan. She was a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University. Her research appears in peer-reviewed sociology and medical journals including Science, Social Science & Medicine, Gender & Society, and Public Library of Science Medicine.


Current Projects
Curriculum Vitae (.pdf)

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