Associate Professor of Anthropology
PhD, University of Minnesota, 2007
Science 1, Room 218
Matthew Wolf-Meyer who joined our faculty in January 2016, comes to us from the University
of California, Santa Cruz, where he was an Associate Professor of Anthropology. His
work focuses on medicine, science and media in the United States to make sense of
major modern-era shifts in the expert practices of science and medicine and popular
representations of health. His book The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine and Modern
American Life was the first book-length social scientific study of sleep in the United
States and won the New Millennium book prize in 2013. It offers insights into the
complex lived realities of disorderly sleepers, the long history of sleep science,
and the global impacts of the exportation of American sleep.
He is currently finishing a book manuscript on the alternative histories of American neuroscience, seen through the lens of neurological disorders, tentatively titled Livable Lives: Disability, Neuroscience and the Limits of the Human. He is in the beginning stages of a project entitled The Colony Within on the history and contemporary medicalization of digestion and excretion in the U.S., which aims to weave together diverse historical threads, such as the 19th century colonial management of indigenous populations, Kellogg's studies of the colon, contemporary management of the personal microbiome, and fecal microbial transplants. The Colony Within focuses on the idea of 'the population' at various levels of life – from the personal microbiome to the American public – and how the population can be changed, maintained, and intervened upon for the health of the person and the nation.
Wolf-Meyer holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (PhD, Anthropology, 2007), Bowling Green State University (MA, American Cultural Studies, 2002), the University of Liverpool (MA, Science Fiction Studies, 2000), and Oakland University (BA, Literature 1998). His work has appeared in American Ethnologist, Science as Culture, Current Anthropology, Comparative Studies of Society and History, Medical Anthropology, Biosocieties, Body & Society, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Extrapolation, Foundation, and the Journal of Popular Culture. He recently guest edited issues of Semiotics Review (on "parasites") and Anthropology of Consciousness (on "alertness").
(Accepted for Publication) Normal, Regular, Standard: Colonizing the Body through
Fecal Microbial Transplants. Medical Anthropology Quarterly.
(Accepted for Publication) Policing Shit, Or, Whatever Happened to the Medical Police? In The Anthropology of Policing, William Garriott and Kevin Karpiak, eds. New York: Routledge.
(Accepted for publication) with Celina Callahan-Kapoor. Chronic Subjunctivity, Or, How Physicians use Diabetes and Insomnia to Manage Futures in the U.S. Medical Anthropology.