Christopher (Chris) Henke

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Christopher (Chris) Henke

Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies; Director, Environmental Studies Program

Department/Office Information

Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Studies
419 Alumni Hall
  • MW 11:00am - 12:30pm (419 Alumni Hall)

I began teaching sociology at Colgate in 2001 and specialize in courses on science and technology, work, the environment, and research methods. In addition to my work in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, I am also a member of Colgate's Environmental Studies Program. In 2020 I was elected a trustee for the Village of Hamilton, and I am dedicated to supporting Colgate, Hamilton, and the Upstate New York community through my research and teaching. 

Check out my YouTube channel, which features lecture content from my courses starting in the Fall 2020 term. I am adding new lectures each week, so hit the subscribe button in my channel if you want to stay up-to-date. 

I have a new book coming out in October 2020, co-authored with my colleague Ben Sims: Repairing Infrastructures: The Maintenance of Materiality and Power (MIT Press). Repairing Infrastructures provides an accessible entry point into studies of maintenance and repair, and the growing field of infrastructure studies. Infrastructures—communication, food, transportation, energy, and information—are all around us, and their enduring function and influence depend on the constant work of repair. We include a wide range of case studies for readers to see how repair work maintains both the material and social dimensions of power that shape our lives and world. 

My first book Cultivating Science, Harvesting Power was published in 2008 by MIT Press. It focuses on the relationship between agricultural scientists and the farm industry in California's Salinas Valley.

Other recent publications include a chapter in the volume, Repair Work Ethnographies (2019), and an article on repair, sustainability, and higher education in the online journal Continent (2017). 

More information about my scholarship is available at my Profile.

  • BA, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1992
  •  MA (1995), PhD (2000), University of California, San Diego
  • Director, Colgate San Francisco Study Group (2004).
  • Visiting assistant professor at Cornell University (2000-2001).
  • Sociology of science and technology
  • Sociology of work
  • Sociology and social history of agriculture and the environment.
  • Cultivating Science, Harvesting Power: Science and Industrial Agriculture in California. The MIT Press (2008).
  • "Maintenance and Transformation in the U. S. Nuclear Weapons Complex." IEEE Technology and Society 27: 32-38 (with Benjamin Sims; 2008).
  • "Situation Normal? Repairing a Risky Environment." Social Studies of Science 37: 135-142 (2007).
  • "Sites of Scientific Practice: The Enduring Importance of Place," in New Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. The MIT Press (with Thomas F. Gieryn; 2007).
  • "Making Change: Science and Environmental Politics in Agriculture," in The New Political Sociology of Science, Scott Frickel and Kelly Moore, editors. University of Wisconsin Press (2006), pages 215-243.
  • "The Mechanics of Workplace Order: Toward a Sociology of Repair." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 44: 55-81 (2000).
  • "Making a Place for Science: The Field Trial." Social Studies of Science 30: 483-512 (2000).
  • National Science Foundation, Scholar’s Award (2009). “Contested Fields: Place-Bound Conflicts over Transgenic Crops.”
  • Picker Fellowship, Research Council, Colgate University (2007).
  • Major Grant, Research Council, Colgate University (2004).
  • Sally Hacker Prize for best graduate student paper, American Sociological Association (2000).