Shannon Cram

Shannon Cram

Assistant Professor

B.A. Geography and Minor in Women's Studies, Humboldt State University
M.A. Geography, University of Oregon
Ph.D. Geography, University of California, Berkeley

Email: scram@uw.edu
Office: UW2-309


I want students to come away from my classes as more skillful and engaged cultural scholars. This means creating a learning environment that inspires intellectual excitement and commitment and welcomes thoughtful dissent. I think the best assignments are those that invite critical reflection, and I favor inquiry-based activities and projects.

Broadly, my courses explore the social life of science and technology. We investigate topics like algorithmic ethics and digital surveillance, artificial intelligence and biomedical practice, toxics policy and nuclear waste. In the process, we consider the complex relationship between power and knowledge production, situating issues and ideas within specific histories and politics.

Recent Courses

BIS 115 - Digital Cultures
BIS 245 - Environmental Humanities
BIS 293 - The Politics of Science
BIS 300 - Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 355 - History of Science and Technology
BIS 490 - Utopian Dreams and the Back to the Land Movement
BISSTS 307 -  Science, Technology, and Society


I am an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections of geography, anthropology, science and technology studies, and the environmental humanities. I am interested in what it means to reckon with an unevenly contaminated environment, and how managing exposure informs the very definitions of health and hazard in the United States. My research investigates the embodied politics of waste and wasting, with a specific attention to the co-production of science and social life. I analyze how frames like risk, reason, pollution, and protection recognize (and fail to recognize) environmental impact. And, in considering how such forms of recognition have come to be, I ask how they could be otherwise. This concern with how power circulates in and through situated histories of toxicity is central to my work.

Selected Publications

Cram, Shannon. Unmaking the Bomb: Environmental Cleanup and the Politics of Impossibility (forthcoming in Fall 2023 from University of California Press).

Cram, Shannon. 2020. "A Good Day to Die" River Teeth (Beautiful Things).

Cram, Shannon. 2019. "Mastectomy: Instructions Before Surgery" Fugue (Issue 56).

Cram, Shannon. 2016. "Living in Dose: Nuclear Work and the Politics of Permissible Exposure" Public Culture 28 (3 80): 519-539.

Cram, Shannon. 2015. "Wild and Scenic Wasteland: Conservation Politics in the Nuclear Wilderness" Environmental Humanities 7: 89-105.

Cram, Shannon. 2015. "Becoming Jane: The Making and Unmaking of Hanford's Nuclear Body" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33 (5): 796-812.

Cram, Shannon. 2010. "Escaping S-102: Waste, Illness, and the Politics of Not Knowing" International Journal of Science in Society 2(1): 243-252.