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Chloe Silverman, PhD

Chloe Silverman, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Politics
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Office: 3101 Market Street, 221
Phone: 215.571.4650


  • PhD, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Vassar College

Curriculum Vitae:

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Chloe Silverman, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Politics. She works in three related areas, which inform her choice of research topics and the courses she teaches. Most centrally, she studies the role of affect in scientific knowledge, how public claims about affect are used to establish authority, and the role of affect as an analytic tool and method in science studies. The second area, the productive entanglements between so-called “lay” and “expert” knowledge, emerges from her work on affect, because the social movements that have engaged medical authorities and patient groups have almost always had an affective dimension. Third, she looks at the modes through which information about scientific practice—as opposed to scientific findings—is communicated to different publics. Discourse about what science is or ought to be shapes both people╩╝s reception of scientific information and their personal investment in science as a form of knowledge.

Silverman’s research topics, including parent advocacy for autism and pollinator health research, serve as ways to explore these problems. In doing so, she uses a range of methods, including archival research, participant observation, open-ended interviews, and the close analysis of texts. She specializes in working collaboratively with scientists as a key means of studying scientific communities.

Selected Publications:


Articles and Essays

  • How Do You Spot a Healthy Honey Bee?” LIMN no. 3. (July 2013).
  • “Disease in History, History in Disease: An interview with Charles Rosenberg.” BioSocieties, 8 no. 3 (2013): 360-368.
  • “’Birdwatching and Baby-Watching’: Niko and Elisabeth Tinbergen’s Ethological Approach to Autism.” History of Psychiatry. 21, 2 (2010): 176-189.
  • “Fieldwork on Another Planet: Social Science Perspectives on the Autism Spectrum Disorders.” BioSocieties. 3, 3 (2008): 325-341.
  • “Understanding Autism: Parents and Pediatricians in Historical Perspective.” (with Jeffrey Brosco). Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 161, 4 (2007): 392-398.

Book Chapters

  • “Desperate and Rational: Of Love, Biomedicine, and Experimental Community,” in Sunder Rajan, Kaushik ed. Lively Capital: Biotechnologies, Ethics and Governance in Global Markets. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, in press, 2012).
  • “Brains, Pedigrees and Promises: Lessons from the Politics of Autism Genetics,” in Gibbon, Sahra and Novas, Carlos, eds. Biosocialities, Genetics and the Social Sciences: Making Biologies and Identities. (London: Routledge, 2008): 38-55.