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).
• Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Fellowship, “Permeable Hospitals, Transnational Communities: A Global Hospital Ethnography in Maine,” School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM June – Aug. 2013
• Scholars Award, “Permeable Spaces and the Global Flow of Biomedical Knowledge,” STS Program, NSF, $186,201 Aug. 2012 – July 2013
• Co-Principal Investigator, Fund to Advance the Discipline, “Zika Social Science Network: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” The American Sociological Association, 2016-2017
• Co-Investigator, Society & Ethics Small Grant Award. “Zika Social Science Network: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” The Wellcome Trust (UK), 2016-2017
Books and Journals
• Susan E. Bell and Anne E. Figert, editors. 2015. Reimagining (Bio)Medicalization, Pharmaceuticals and Genetics: Old Critiques and New Engagements. Routledge
• Alan Radley and Susan E. Bell, guest editors. 2011. “Another Way of Knowing: Art, Disease, and Illness Experience.” special issue of health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine, 15:3.
• Susan E. Bell. 2009. DES Daughters: Embodied Knowledge and the Transformation of Women’s Health Politics Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
• Susan E. Bell and Anne E. Figert. 2012. “Medicalization and pharmaceuticalization at the intersections: Looking backward, sideways and forward.” Social Science and Medicine, 75(5): 775-783.
• Mary Ellen Bell and Susan E. Bell. 2012. “What to do with all this stuff?: Memory, family, and material objects.” Storytelling, Self, Society, 8(2): 63-84.
• Susan E. Bell. 2011. “Claiming justice: Knowing mental illness in the public art of Anna Schuleit’s ‘Habeas Corpus’ and ‘Bloom’.” health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine, 15(3): 313-334.
• Alan Radley and Susan E. Bell. 2007. “Artworks, collective experience, and claims for social justice: The case of women living with breast cancer.” Sociology of Health & Illness, 29(3): 366-390.
• Susan E. Bell, “Bringing Our Bodies and Ourselves Back in: Seeing Irving Kenneth Zola’s Legacy,” in Sara Green and Sharon Barnartt, eds. Research in Social Science and Disability. 9:143-158, 2017
• Susan E. Bell and Anne E. Figert. 2015. “Moving sideways and forging ahead: Re-imagining –izations in the 21st century.” Pp. 19-40 in Bell and Figert, eds., Reimagining (Bio)Medicalization, Pharmaceuticals and Genetics. Routledge.
• Anne E. Figert and Susan E. Bell. 2014. “Big pharma and big medicine in the global environment.” Pp. 456-470 in Daniel Kleinman and Kelly Moore, eds., Handbook of Science, Technology, and Society, Routledge.
• Susan E. Bell. 2014. “Disrupting scholarship.” Pp. 119-140 in Rosanna Hertz, Anita Ilta Garey and Margaret K. Nelson, eds., Open to Disruption: Practicing Slow Sociology. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
• Susan E. Bell. 2013. “Seeing narratives.” Pp. 142-158 in Molly Andrews, Corrine Squire and Maria Tamboukou, eds., Doing Narrative Research, second edition. London: Sage Publications, Ltd.
• Susan E. Bell and Anne E. Figert. 2010. “Gender and the medicalization of health care.” Pp. 107-122 in Ellen Kuhlmann and Ellen Annandale, eds. Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Healthcare, Palgrave Macmillan.
• Susan E. Bell. 2010. “Visual methods for collecting and analysing data.” Pp. 513-535 in Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Raymond DeVries, and Robert Dingwall, eds., The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Health Research. Sage Publications.