JOAN H. ROBINSON  
JD, ABD, Columbia University Department of Sociology


Welcome! I am a PhD student and Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University.  

My research and teaching interests include law and legal processes; science, knowledge, technology, and medicine; gender inequality and families; and citizenship, self-determination, and nationality. In various projects, I investigate how law shapes the development and use of technologies, particularly in our unequal world. My dissertation examines the home pregnancy test, the diagnostic device that is most widely used by lay people. I use a range of qualitative methods and data sources such as historical interviews and archival data, ethnographic field observations and interviews, and legal sources of all kinds. While my work is primarily qualitative, I have published quantitative work as well. 

Previously, I worked for five years as a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the oldest, largest, and most influential legal services provider in the U.S., where I represented low-income New Yorkers in their civil cases in the Bronx and Brooklyn. My former clients and colleagues at Legal Aid continue to inspire my work. In 2010, I enrolled in a PhD program at Columbia, making my academic fantasies a reality. I am thankful every day for the privilege to be able to pursue this type of work.