Zoë H Wool is Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Anthropology and core faculty in Rice’s Medical Humanities Program. Her work focuses primarily on post-9/11 war injury and its aftermath in the U.S. and stands at the intersection of medical anthropology, STS, queer theory, and disability studies.
Dr. Wool’s first book After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed (2015, Duke University Press) is based on ethnographic field research with grievously injured American soldiers and their family members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It explores the figure of the soldier in U.S. public culture; embodied experiences of life after war; the intersections of masculinity, sexuality, and disability; and the force of heteronormative ideals of the good life, which are particularly amplified in the military context. After War received honorable mention for the 2016 Gregory Bateson Prize, awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. For more information about Dr. Wool’s research interests, see her Anthropology Department webpage.
Dr. Wool’s work can be found in various leading journals, including Social Text, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Ethnos, and edited volumes including, most recently, Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium (2016 University of California Press, Veena Das and Clara Han, eds). Dr. Wool has also contributed pieces to online forums for public scholarship such as Public Anthropologies, Public Books, Cultural Anthropology’s “What Are You Reading” series, Somatosphere, and Anthrodendum (formerly SavageMinds), where she is a member of the core blogging collective. She is also a contributor to the Costs of War project based at Brown University. She serves on the editorial board of Medical Anthropology Quarterly and is an advisory member of the board of Critical Military Studies.
At Rice, Dr. Wool teaches courses on illness, injury, disability, gender, technology, and the body; theories of sociality; and the introduction to sociocultural anthropology. Before coming to Rice, Professor Wool held postdoctoral positions in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, where she taught courses on contemporary social theory and ethnographic writing, and at the Institute for Health, Healthcare Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University.
Dr. Wool is currently working on two book projects. The first explores socialities of care around injured U.S. veterans, and is informed by conversations with disability care collectives. The second, tentatively titled Homunculus Revolts, combines ethnography, speculative biography, and the history of science to offer critical feminist and disability interventions into the histories and logics of neurology, its exemplary psychosomatic subjects, and biomedical distinctions between brain and body. She is also Co-PI on a Rice InterDisciplinary Excellence Award (IDEA) with Dr.s Marcia O’Malley (Mechanical Engineering) and Philip Kortum (Psychology) exploring the design and function of upper limb assistive devices from the varied perspectives of users, clinicians, researchers, and engineers.