Sara Wylie

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Social Science and Environmental Health Research Institute
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Phone: 617-373-2385
Office: 335 International Village

Areas of Research/Interest:

  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Anthropology of Science
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Justice
  • New Media

Sara Wylie seeks to develop new modes of studying and intervening in large-scale social issues such endocrine disrupting chemicals through a fusion of social scientific, scientific and art/design practices. Dr. Wylie is Director of Toxics and Health Research for Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, and has a joint appointment between Health Sciences and the Sociology/Anthropology program as part of Northeastern’s new Institute of Social Science and Environmental Health Research. She completed her Ph.D. in MIT’s History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) Program in 2011. Her dissertation, entitled “Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds: an STS analysis of the American Natural Gas Industry”, involved ethnographic study with The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, a non-profit founded by Theo Colborn, lead author of Our Stolen Future, whose independent research on chemicals used in natural gas extraction influenced national discussions of hydraulic fracturing. Ethnographic study with this organization and communities experiencing natural gas extraction lead to her develop web-based tools to help communities and experts across the country study and hold extractive industries accountable for their social and environmental impacts. This project called ExtrAct was developed in collaboration with artist and technologist Chris Csikszentmihalyi, in MIT’s Center for Civic Media. Following her interest in digital media, Wylie taught classes on practicing social science critique of science and technology through art and design and co-lead a research group with Jeff Warren on Environmental Justice in Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD), Digital+Media Department. In 2011 Wylie co-founded a non-profit dedicated to developing open source, Do-It-Yourself tools for community based environmental health research, Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science ( PLOTS won a Knight Foundation’s News Challenge Grant in the summer of 2011.