Hannah Landecker

Associate Professor, Sociology, UCLA

Metaknowledge Interests

I am interested in taking my ethnographic and textual analysis skills to “the literature” of epigenetics and metabolism at scale, asking questions about the language, reasoning, temporal structure and logics of inheritance after epigenetics; asking about the ways in which the social is being refigured as a ‘signal’ in these logics; the knowledge dynamics of the signal (versus or alongside the gene); and whether the knowledge domains of genetics and metabolism, long held separate in the twentieth century, are becoming intercalated in new ways today.


My work takes place at the intersection of the life and social sciences. In general, the social and historical study of biotechnology and life science, from 1900 to now, is my area of specialization. I am currently writing a book called “American Metabolism,” which looks at transformations to the metabolic sciences wrought by the rise of epigenetics, microbiomics, cell signaling and hormone biology. A related project concerns the history of metabolic hormones after 1960 and the rise of the cellular “signal” as a central category of thought and practice in the life sciences.

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