research directory

Anthropology of Science, cultural anthropology

Toumey, Chris

Columbia | United States


Chris Toumey is a cultural anthropologist who works in the anthropology of science and technology.

His dissertation research at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) was an ethnography of the creationist movement in the 1980s, with special attention to creationist visions of science and scientific authority.  This work was published as God’s Own Scientists (1994).

Chris’s second book, Conjuring Science (1996), examined the ways that popular symbols of scientific authority are deployed and manipulated in public scientific controversies.

In 2003, Chris joined a team at the University of South Carolina which was studying nanotechnology from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences.  His research and writing on nanotech includes such topics as religious reactions to nanotech; public engagement with nanotech; controversies within nanotech; and other topics.  He is the author of approximately one hundred publications on nanotechnology.  He writes four commentaries each year for the journal Nature Nanotechnology.   This is his platform for showing how the humanities and social sciences can contribute to our understandings of nanotech.

A collection of twenty-nine of his papers on nanotech was published as Nanotech and the Humanities (2019).

Chris’s principal interest is to ask whether there are predictable patterns in religious reactions to new technologies.  In other words, is it possible to generalize from his work on religious reactions to nanotechnology?