Susan E. Bell, PhD, is Professor and Department Head in the Department of Sociology. Her research specialty is the sociology of health and illness. Since the 1970s her scholarship has examined the interaction between patient cultures and embodied health movements, on the one hand, and the changing culture and structure of biomedicine on the other. In her research she investigates the experience of illness, women's health, and narrative representations of the politics of cancer, medicine, and women's bodies. She also investigates the global flow of biomedical knowledge and spatial permeability by listening to and analyzing stories constructed in interactions between immigrant patient populations and staff in U.S. hospital outpatient clinics. She teaches courses about global health and the social and cultural dimensions of health, illness and medical care as well as courses that explore social life through a visual lens.
Previously Professor Bell was Professor of Sociology and A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences at Bowdoin College. While at Bowdoin she also taught hospital-based seminars for the Maine Humanities Council, “Literature and Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care” from 2000-2010. She served as Chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (2013-2014) and is a Board Member of Research Committee 38 (Biography & Society) of the International Sociological Association (2014-2018).