Jaimie Morse

Northwestern University
Department of Sociology
1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208

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I am a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Northwestern University, and I have a Master’s degree in Public Health from UCLA. My research lies at the intersection of medicine, law, culture, and science and technology studies (STS). My dissertation, “Legal Mobilization in Medicine: Seeking Rights to Justice and Rights to Healthcare for Survivors of Sexual Violence Globally since the 1970s,” traces the historical emergence and transnational uptake of the sexual assault medical forensic exam or SAMFE (commonly known as a “rape kit”) as a tool of anti-rape advocacy. Bringing together approaches in medical sociology, socio-legal studies, cultural sociology, and STS, I analyze the SAMFE as a hybrid medico-legal object that joins law and medicine as a novel form of medical action. I follow the object from its emergence amidst anti-rape activism in the United States beginning in the 1970s, to its uptake and codification as best practice globally in international guidelines, to more recent attempts to adapt it for use in conflict zones. To do so, I draw on the method of “process tracing” to chart an historical sequence of events to explain a particular outcome: the joining of clinical medicine and criminal law in the SAMFE for the purposes of institutional reform and its effects in domestic and humanitarian contexts. Combining archival research, fieldwork at international meetings, and over 40 in-depth interviews of healthcare practitioners, activists, lawyers, and other experts, I argue that medical evidence collection techniques help to define what they purport to measure, thereby having profound symbolic and material effects on the credibility of victims’ narratives, which crimes are deemed justiciable, and ultimately how events come to be remembered.

Areas of Interest

Sociology of Health, Illness, and Biomedicine; Science and Technology Studies (STS); Socio-legal Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Cultural Sociology; Global and Transnational Sociology


Refereed Journal Articles

2014 Documenting Mass Rape: Medical Evidence Collection Techniques as Humanitarian Technology. Genocide Studies and Prevention. 8:63-79.

Book Chapters

2016 Heimer, Carol A. and Jaimie Morse. “Colonizing the Clinic: The Adventures of Law in HIV Treatment and Research” in Studying Law Globally: New Legal Realist Perspectives, eds. Heinz Klug and Sally Engle Merry, Cambridge University Press (p. 69-95).

2015 Heimer, Carol A. and Jaimie Morse. “Law, Sociology of” in International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition, ed. James D. Wright, Elsevier Limited Press (p. 598-603).

2014 Hagan, John and Jaimie Morse. “State Rape and The Crime of Genocide” in The Oxford Handbook on Gender, Sex, and Crime, eds. Rosemary Gartner and Bill McCarthy, Oxford University Press (p. 690-708).

Book Reviews

2016 Review of Sameena Mulla. The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention. New York University Press. 2014. Theoretical Criminology 20:251-254.

Manuscripts in Submission

Legal Mobilization in Medicine: Nurses, Rape Kits, and the Emergence of Forensic Nursing in the United States since the 1970s. (revise & resubmit).

Invited Manuscripts

Regulatory Law and the Globalization of Biomedicine: Specialized Post-Rape Medical Care and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Contexts. (proposed special issue on “Global Medical Cultures, Properties, and Law”)

Major Fellowships & Awards

2017 Junior Fellow, Brocher Foundation, Hermance, Switzerland
2016 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
2016 Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies
2014-2016 Presidential Fellowship, Northwestern University Society of Fellows
2014 Visiting Scholar, Sciences Po, Paris, France
2013 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship, Social Science Research Council
2009-2014 Mellon Foundation Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Science Studies, Northwestern University
1999-2000 Fulbright Fellowship, Field of Economic Development, Malawi, Central Africa

Courses Taught

Northwestern University, Undergraduate, Health, Biomedicine, Culture, and Society (Instructor of Record)