Mary Ingram-Waters joined the faculty of Barrett, the Honors College, in January, 2009, after the birth of her second daughter. She completed her doctorate in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2008. Her thesis, “Fictions of New Biological Sciences: Exploring Cultural Sites of Knowledge Production,” examines three different fictional arenas to uncover hidden histories and alternative experts of new biological and genetic technologies: 1970s lesbian science fiction, the 2002 Raelians’ cloning hoax, and an online amateur fiction community dedicated to the phenomenon of male pregnancy. While a doctoral student at UCSB, Professor Ingram-Waters held a two-year research fellowship at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society and a one year research fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies of Science, Technology, and Society, in Graz, Austria. She was awarded the inaugural dissertation fellowship by the Capps Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. Publications from her dissertation research have appeared in Public Understanding of Science and the Yearbook of the STS-IAS. Professor Ingram-Waters sums up her research interests thusly: How do people use their imaginations to understand science and technology?
Her next project, while ostensibly about knowledge production strategies, departs from her previous focus on science and technology. Professor Ingram-Waters is at the beginning stages of an ethnographic study of the US/Mexican border. She hopes that a small team of Barrett students will accompany her to study the Minuteman Project, a large amorphous group of mostly white, mostly middle class, U.S. citizens, who voluntarily patrol the U.S./Mexican border for the purpose of keeping illegal immigrants from crossing over. Among many researchable questions, she asks this one: How do people embody nationalism through their actions with the Minuteman Project?