Claire Laurier Decoteau, PhD


Affilliated Faculty

Assistant Professor,

PhD, Sociology
University of Michigan, 2008

Office: 4112D BSB
Phone: 312-413-3755
E-mail: decoteau [at] uic [dot] edu

*Curriculum Vitae


About Dr. Claire Laurier Decoteau

Claire Laurier Decoteau received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan (2008).  Broadly, her research focuses on the social construction of health and disease, the politics of knowledge production, and peoples’ grounded experiences with healing and health care systems.  Decoteau was awarded the 2009 American Sociological Association’s Dissertation Award. She has recently completed her first book manuscript entitled,Ancestors and Antiretrovirals: The Bio-Politics of HIV/AIDS in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Forthcoming 2013, University of Chicago Press).  Drawing on 30 months of ethnographic, discursive and historical research, the book traces the politics of AIDS in South Africa from 1994 through 2010 analyzing: the political economy of the post-apartheid health system, the shifting symbolic struggles over the signification of HIV/AIDS, and the ways in which communities profoundly affected by the epidemic incorporate culturally hybrid subjectivities, informed by both indigenous and biomedical healing paradigms. 

 Decoteau has recently begun two new research projects.  The first focuses on controversial link between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism.  It seeks to understand peoples’ lay conceptions of science and explores the reasons people disinvest from biomedical hegemony.  For this project, she will be conducting research in the United States on the social construction of risk and parental decision-making regarding vaccination.  The second project focuses on women working in South Africa’s informal economy and explores the relationship between ‘transactional’ sexual practices and sex work in contemporary Johannesburg. 

 As an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Decoteau teaches undergraduate and graduate sociological theory as well as courses in the sociology of health and medicine. 

*Selected Publications


“Hybrid Habitus: Toward a Post-Colonial Theory of Practice.” Political Power
and Social Theory, Special Issue: Postcolonial Sociology

“The Specter of AIDS: Testimonial Activism in the Aftermath of the Epidemic.”
Sociological Theory 26, 3 (September): 230-25