- Agriculture, Health, and the Environment
- Modern Global History/Science, Technology, and Nationalism
- U.S. Society and Politics/Policy Perspectives
Jennifer S. Singh is associate professor in the School of History and Sociology. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, San Francisco and specializes in medical sociology and science and technology studies. Her research investigates the intersections of genetics, health and society, which draws on her experiences of working in the biotechnology industry in molecular biology and as a public health researcher at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to research on the social and scientific understandings of diseases based on emerging medical technologies, Singh is also conducting reserach on the structural inequalities to autism diagnosis and services based on race, class and gender, as well as issues pertaining to transitioning adults on the autism spectrum.
Book – 2016
Is there a gene for autism? Despite a billion-dollar, twenty-year effort to find out—and the more elusive the answer, the greater the search seems to become—no single autism gene has been identified. In Multiple Autisms, Jennifer S. Singh sets out to discover how autism emerged as a genetic disorder and how this affects those who study autism and those who live with it. This is the first sustained analysis of the practices, politics, and meaning of autism genetics from a scientific, cultural, and social perspective.
Singh, Jennifer S. Multiple Autisms: Spectrums of Advocacy and Genomic Science University of Minnesota Press, 2016, 284 pages.
Journal Article – September 2016
This study investigates the work and care associated with raising a child with disabilities in the United States. Based on in-depth interviews with parents who have a child with autism, it develops the notion of parenting work and trajectories of care to investigate how parents navigate and coordinate the challenges of getting an autism diagnosis, obtaining educational services, and re-contextualizing the possibilities for the future. I argue that parents embody a complex mix of love, hope, and responsibility in parenting work and trajectories of care that expands temporal and social elements of illness work and illness trajectories initially developed by Anselm Strauss and colleagues. This type of parenting work changes over time and is influenced by social structural forces and relationships in which the care takes place. The re-articulation of these analytic tools also begins to untangle the intricate mix of both medical and social models of disability that parents embrace and continuously negotiate. This study demonstrates how parents accept the medical model of disability by seeking and pushing for a clinical autism diagnosis and subsequent treatments, while at the same time challenge the limits placed on their children by providing them opportunities, possible futures, and a sense of personhood.
Singh, Jennifer S. (2016). “Parenting Work and Autism Trajectories of Care,”Sociology of Health and Illness 38(7) (forthcoming).