I am a medical sociologist and historian of science and my current intellectual interests focus on questions regarding biomedicine/biotechnology, specifically genomics and precision medicine, among indigenous and ethnic populations in South Asia, Asia and the Americas. Employing methods from medical sociology, indigenous science and technology studies and South Asian Studies, I study how discourses about ethics and populations mediate innovations in biotechnology which involve ethnic and indigigenous communities in the Americas, South Asia and other parts of Asia. Recent investigations I have undertaken explore biotechnology, specifcally genomics and precision medicine, in India and North America, human milk fortification in the United States and Canada, and shifts in obstetrics services in the global context of Chinese birth tourism in the United States and Canada (among other sites of inquiry). This body of research contributes to debates in sociology of health and medicine, history of science, gender, race/ethnicity, First Nations health and South Asian Studies.
Dr. Valiani's first book, entitled Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity (Palgrave 2011), combined historical and ethnographic research methods to examine the effects of ethno-religious, medical and masculine conceptions of the body on the formation of political community in modern India. This body of research contributes to debates in sociology of the body, ethnicity and gender, political histories of South Asia, and broader discussions about the rise of populism which we are currently witnessing in North America, Europe and South Asia.
Before taking up his appointment in the Department of History at the University of Oregon, Arafaat Valiani was Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Williams College.
Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oregon, Dr. Valiani worked as a consultant in the private, non-profit and government sectors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Organizations to whom he provided his expertise included Columbia University, Population Concern, Statistics Canada and CN (Canadian National Railway Company). Dr. Valiani maintains a professional interests in biotechnology startups and 'edtech' (educational technology).
Ph.D. Columbia University
MA London School of Economics/School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London
BFa Concordia University (Montréal, Canada)
Distinctions, Awards and Fellowships
National Science Foundation
National Endowment for the Humanities
Kluge Fellowship, Library of Congress
American Institute of Indian Studies
Oregon Humanities Fellowship
Tom and Carol Williams Grant
Fellowship for Exceptional Research in Environmental StudiesConcordia University (Montreal, Canada) (awarded twice)
Manuscripts Under Review or in Progress:
Recoding Caste: Community, Genetic Mapping and Risk in Postgenomic India and Its Diasporas
Undone Science and Technological Innovation: The Case of Electronic Voting Machines in Postcolonial India (Co-authored with Patrick Jones).
Processions as Publics: Relgious Ceremonials, the City and Modes of Public Sphere Intervention in Colonial and Postcolonial Western India.
Media and Mobilization: Political Resistance and Its Media Forms in Western India.