Talia Dan-Cohen’s research and teaching explore the intersections between the anthropology, history, and philosophy of science. Her areas of interest include biotechnology, knowledge practices, the history of the social sciences, and contemporary social theory.
Her book, A Simpler Life: Synthetic Biological Experiments (Cornell University Press, in press), approaches the developing field of synthetic biology by focusing on the experimental and institutional lives of practitioners in two lab at Princeton University. In these sites, Dan-Cohen examines the set of techno-epistemic practices that give both researchers' lives and synthetic life their distinctive contemporary forms. She is also the co-author of A Machine to Make a Future: Biotech Chronicle (Princeton University Press 2005, with Paul Rabinow). Dan-Cohen is currently working on a new book project on ‘complexity.’ The premise of the project is that the ubiquity of ‘complexity’ today can tell us as much about the social and political contexts in which knowledge is produced as it does about the kinds of phenomena experts seek to know. The book project presents a set of interlinked cases that examine the uses of complexity in anthropology, archaeology, feminist epistemology, philosophy, and STS.