Abigail Coplin

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Science, Technology and Society

Dr. Abigail Coplin’s research is situated in political sociology, economic sociology, and science and technology studies. It examines the entanglement—and coproduction of—science, politics, and nationalism in contemporary China, and exposes mechanisms by which non-democratic states contend with experts and incorporate expertise into their governance schemes and legitimacy claims. Her various projects demonstrate that while the Chinese Communist Party-state (CCP) seeks to harness science and technology as a legitimizing ideology and economic driver, semi-incorporating them within the state also gives rise to new, often unintended, dynamics that the party-state must address. 

Dr. Coplin’s teaching also probes the science-market-state nexus. Co-appointed in Vassar’s Sociology Department and Program on Science, Technology, and Society, she teaches State-Society Relations in the US, China, and EU (SOCI/INTL 280), the International Social Life of Science and Technology (STS/SOCI 240), Asian Sociotechnical Imaginaries (STS/SOCI 345), Introduction to Sociology (SOCI 151), and Research Methods (SOCI 254).

Dr. Coplin holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University, an M.A. in Regional Studies of East Asia from Harvard University, and a B.S. in Chemistry and East Asian Studies from Yale University. She previously has held fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China, the Yale Council on East Asian Studies, and Fulbright Association. She is an avid sailor, spontaneous dancer, and aspiring molecular gastronomist.

BS, Yale University; MA, Harvard University; MA, MPhil, PhD, Columbia University in the City of New York
At Vassar since 2019


Blodgett Hall
Box 21


SOCI 151 Introductory Sociology
STS 200 Conceptualizing STS: Theories and Practice
STS 303 Senior Thesis

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