Shannon Lee Dawdy Anthropology/ interim co-director of 3ct

Professor Dawdy (PhD, U Michigan 2003) is a Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College. Professor Dawdy is an interdisciplinary scholar who works across methods and time periods. Her current fieldwork can be understood as an archaeology of contemporary life. Her regional focus has been on the U.S., Caribbean, and Mexico. A central thread running through her work concerns how landscapes and material objects mediate human relationships, from the historical ecologies of capitalism to the emotional trajectories of those who lost their intimate object worlds to Hurricane Katrina. Another theoretical interest is temporality -- how pasts, presents, and futures shape social life and political possibilities. Her current research focuses on rapidly changing death practices in the U.S., particularly around disposition and transformation of the body. Collaborating with a filmmaker, one domain of the project experiments with how to make a documentary film with an archaeological eye. Professor Dawdy is a MacArthur Fellow and has received funding for her fieldwork from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For access to publications and information on current work go to: and



Kaushik Sunder Rajan  Anthropology / Co-Director of 3CT - On leave next year

Professor Sunder Rajan’s work has focused on a number of interrelated events and emergences: firstly, the increased corporatization of life science research; secondly, the emergence of new technologies and epistemologies within the life sciences, such as, significantly, genomics; and thirdly, the fact that these technoscientific and market emergences were not simply occurring in the United States, but rather globally. His book, Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life, tries to capture a flavor of these emergences. On the one hand, it is a multi-sited ethnography of emergent genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India. On the other hand, it traces the historical emergence of what he calls biocapital in the late 20th century, which asks questions of the nature and manner of the co-production of economic and epistemic value in the life sciences today. In the former register, Sunder Rajan’s work has followed a number of actors – scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policy makers – involved in genomics research and market development in a range of sites in the US and India (in the US, primarily in the Bay Area; in India, primarily in Delhi, Bombay and Hyderabad). In the latter register, his work engages social theories of epistemology, political economy, ethics, subjectivity, language and value (most directly the analysis of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida), in order to provide ways to think about a current moment in world history that is significantly shaped by techno-scientific capitalism. 

Professor Sunder Rajan is currently researching two distinct though inter-related new projects. One focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical development in India in the context of changes in global capital flows and governance regimes. This has two aspects to it: 1) A study of capacity building for global pharmaceutical clinical trials in India and 2) A study of the consequences of India’s new, World Trade Organization (WTO) compliant, patent regime on the Indian pharmaceutical industry and on access to essential medicines. The second project focuses on the changing nature of the research university in India in the life sciences. The focal point here is the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), a new biomedical research institute being set up as a collaboration between the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Division of Health, Science and Technology (HST) at MIT. This involves tracing a) The history and context of institutional development in Indian life sciences; b) The history and context of translational research as a category and mode of research in the United States; and c) The nature of global institutional and research collaborations in the life sciences.



Lisa Wedeen Political Science / co-director of 3ct

Professor Wedeen is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and the Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. Her publications include Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999); "Conceptualizing 'Culture': Possibilities for Political Science" (2002); "Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy" (2004), Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen (2008), "Ethnography as an Interpretive Enterprise" (2009), "Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science" (2010), and "Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria" (2013). She is the recipient of the David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award and an NSF fellowship. She is currently working on a book about ideology, neoliberal autocracy, and generational change in present-day Syria.

Selected Publications:

"Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East,” in Middle East Studies for a New Millenium: Infrastructures of Knowledge (Social Science Research Council’s Internationalization and Interdisciplinary Program on Knowledge Production in the Middle East and North Africa), New York: New York University Press, 2016.


Celeste Cruz.jpeg

Celeste cruz-carandang, Assistant Director of 3ct

Celeste Cruz-Carandang came to 3CT in August 2017, soon after graduating from the University of Chicago’s MAPH program with a concentration in Art History. As the Assistant Director, Celeste strives to support the academic mission of the Center. By helping the faculty fellows develop their projects, cultivating relationships with campus partners, and by working with the administration, Celeste works to actualize compelling programming and activities.  She also oversees the administration and operation of 3CT. Before joining the Center, Celeste worked at the University of Chicago Press and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to her MA, she holds a BA in Medieval Studies and Art History from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Her interests include the formation of cultural identities in early-modern Venice, as well as the intersections between theater, music, and painting.


Phone: 773.702.0230



Christine joined 3CT at the end of January 2018. She holds a BS in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the administrative specialist, Christine aims to support the directors and assistant director by organizing events, helping with daily operations, and maintaining the Center’s online and digital presence. Outside of Wilder House, Christine enjoys spending time with family, exploring new places, and discovering interesting coffee shops.


Phone: 773.834.8733


Omar safadi, student assistant at 3ct 

Omar Safadi joined 3CT in September 2017. He is a first year PhD student in Political Science. His main areas of interest are political theory and comparative politics; colonial legacy and critical theory; and authoritarianism and nationalist politics. Omar holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago. At 3CT, Omar assists with programming, event-planning, and social media. 




Omie Hsu is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. As a political theorist, her work is focused on the conceptual conditions of being political – on how articulations of some of the axiomatic categories of political life and political thought (life/death, public/private, affect/rationality) track adjustments to and strategies of power, while they may also be the scenes and objects of political activity. This is also what her dissertation is about. At the moment, it tracks these conceptual circulations in and between Supreme Court cases and literary objects. More broadly, her research interests and inspirations include bodies of work loosely clustered around, and defined through, theories about democracy, liberalism, feminism, queerness, nationalisms, race, science/scientificity, capital, and affect in the historical present.