Professor and Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
Ford School of Public Policy
Shobita Parthasarathy studies the governance of emerging science and technology as well as the politics of evidence and expertise in policymaking, in comparative and international perspective. She has a long-standing interest in the use and regulation of genomic and genetic data. Her first two books, Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press, 2007) and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe, (University of Chicago Press, 2017) cover these themes. Using comparative and qualitative interpretive research methods, she studies the the ethics, politics, and economics of data collection and interpretation. This includes concerns about consent and intellectual property in genomic databases, the social implications of commodifying data, the use of personal data in determining access to social services and health care, and the use of data for social justice and public good.
Her current research focuses on the politics of inclusive innovation in international development, with a focus in India. She is interested in how political culture and ideology shape what counts as inclusive “innovation”, and in the implications for social and political order—particularly the “empowerment” of poor girls and women.