People

Jay Aronson

Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
Ph.D.: University of Minnesota, 2003
Department Member Since: 2004

Biography

Jay Aronson’s research and teaching focus on the interactions of science, technology, law, and human rights in criminal justice, post-conflict, and post-disaster contexts. His first book, entitled Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling (Rutgers University Press, 2007), examines the development of forensic DNA analysis in the American legal system. He also completed a series of articles that investigates the impact of recent advances in DNA identification on notions of culpability, finality, and justice in American criminal jurisprudence.

Dr. Aronson is currently engaged in a long-term study of the ethical, political, and social dimensions of post-conflict and post-disaster DNA identification of the missing and disappeared. This research is funded by an R01 grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is also part of a collaborative project the seeks to improve the quality of civilian casualty recording and estimation in times of conflict, which is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Both of these projects are housed within Carnegie Mellon's Center for Human Rights Science, which Dr. Aronson founded in 2011 in order to encourage the development and application of scientific methods for collecting, analyzing, and communicating human rights information.

In addition to his research and teaching activities, Dr. Aronson also directs the undergraduate Ethics, History, and Public Policy major. Working with the amazing students who are part of this program is without a doubt the best part of his job.

Dr. Aronson received his Ph.D. in History of Science and Technology from the University of Minnesota and was both a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

selected Publications

Books
Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007)
Edited Books
Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Articles
Alex John London, Lisa S. Parker and Jay D. Aronson, “DNA Identification After Conflict or Disaster,” Science, 2013, 341: 1178-1179.
Lisa S. Parker, Alex John London and Jay D. Aronson, “Incidental findings in the use of DNA to identify human remains: An ethical assessment,” Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2013, 7: 221-229.
“The Strengths and Limitations of South Africa’s Search for Apartheid-Era Missing Persons,” International Journal for Transitional Justice, 2011, 5(2): 262-281.
Jay D. Aronson and Simon A. Cole, “Science and the Death Penalty: DNA, Innocence, and the Debate over Capital Punishment in the United States,” Law and Social Inquiry, 2009, 34(3): 603-633.
“Neuroscience and Juvenile Justice,” Akron Law Review, 2009, 42: 917-930.
“Creating the Network and the Actors: The FBI’s Role in the Standardization of Forensic DNA Profiling,” Biosocieties, 2008, 3(2): 195-215.
“Brain Imaging, Culpability, and the Juvenile Death Penalty,” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2007, 13(2): 115-142.
“The ‘Starch Wars’ and the Early History of DNA Profiling,” Forensic Science Review, 2006, 18(1): 59-72.
“DNA fingerprinting on trial: the dramatic early history of a new forensic technique,” Endeavour, 2005, 29(3): 126-131.
“Molecules and Monkeys: George Gaylord Simpson and the Challenge of Molecular Evolution,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 2002, 24: 441-465.
Book Chapters
Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, “Introduction,” in Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013).
“The Politics of Civilian Casualty Counts,” in Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013).
Jay D. Aronson, Baruch Fischhoff, and Taylor B. Seybolt, “Moving toward More Accurate Casulaty Counts,” in Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013).
“Humanitarian DNA Identification in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” in Keith Wailoo, et al. (eds), Genetics and the Unsettled Past (Rutgers University Press, 2012), pp. 295-312.
“Certainty v. Finality: Is there a Fundamental Constitutional Right to Post-Conviction DNA Testing?,” in Sheila Jasanoff (ed.) Reframing Rights: Bio-Constitutionalism in the Genetic Age Age (MIT Press, 2011), pp. 125-146.
Simon A. Cole and Jay D. Aronson, “Blinded by Science on the Road to Abolition?,” in Austin Sarat and Charles Ogletree (eds.), The Road to Abolition (NYU Press, 2009), pp. 46-71.
“On Trial! Governing Forensic DNA Technologies in the United States,” in Richard Hindmarsh and Barbara Prainsack (eds.), DNA Profiling and Databasing: Governing the Challenges of New Technologies (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 24-261.
Simon A. Cole and Jay D. Aronson, “Blinded by Science on the Road to Abolition?,” in Austin Sarat and Charles Ogletree (eds.), The Road to Abolition (NYU Press, 2009), pp. 46-71.

Courses Taught

History of Public Policy in the United States
Global Justice
Biology and Society: Evolution Animal Experimentation and Eugenics
Law, Ethics, and the Life Sciences
Introduction to Science and Technology Studies

Contact Info

Department of History
Baker Hall 246-B
P: 412.268.2887
F: 412.268.1019
aronson@andrew.cmu.edu

Jay Aronson's CV

Publications