Abby Kinchy is a sociologist working in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). She is an associate professor in the STS Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has a PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Kinchy’s research focuses on three main themes: 1) controversial technologies, 2) food, water, and energy, and 3) citizen science. Most of her research centers on the social and political dynamics of controversies over new and potentially dangerous technologies. She studies how social movements (such as the alternative agriculture movement and anti-fracking activists) resist and shape the development of controversial technologies. She is particularly interested in the use of citizen science as a tool of social movements and as form of civic organizing.
Kinchy has pursued these themes in a variety of publications, including the book Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops, published by the MIT Press in 2012, and an array of articles published as part of the Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project (www.watershed-mapping.rpi.edu/). Her forthcoming book is Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge (2019, Rutgers University Press, co-authored with Aya Kimura).
Kinchy has received funding from the National Science Foundation to support the organization of workshops to build research networks in two key areas: social dimensions of subterranean research and extraction, and citizen science in the food system. She is a co-organizer of STS Underground, a research network that advances social science research on the technoscientific dimensions of mining, burial, and other forms of subterranean exploration. She is also a co-organizer of the Workshop on Citizen Science and the Food System.