Coleen Carrigan

Coleen Carrigan

Assistant Professor Social Sciences


  • Intersectional Feminisms
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Science and technology studies
  • Action-oriented ethnography
  • Broadening participation

Contact Information

About Coleen Carrigan

Dr. Coleen Carrigan is a feminist anthropologist and an Assistant Professor of Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology Studies at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She earned her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Washington (UW) and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the UW ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change.

She investigates the historical and cultural dimensions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a particular emphasis on Computer Science and Engineering, and why these high-status fields appear impervious to desegregation. Carrigan weaves together three threads of research to elucidate this vexing problem and sustainable solutions to it. First, she uses action-oriented ethnography to document women’s lived experiences as marginalized members of STEM fields, the ways they navigate the politics of gender and race and the rites of passage in high-tech communities that reproduce inequalities and the ideological divide between the social and the technical. Second, she studies women’s intersectional identities and feminist consciousness and excavates the collective actions and values critical to demanding and enacting institutional change in STEM cultures. Third, she examines cultures of STEM knowledge production through the experiences and perspectives of undergraduate students from marginalized standpoints. She applies her research findings to create interventions that help foster welcoming environments for underrepresented groups in STEM and transform the powers of technology to advance social justice. 

Carrigan’s work has been cited in USA TodayScienceThe Seattle TimesLA Times and Inside Higher Ed and is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Luce Foundation, the Cal Poly Provost’s Office, the Cal Poly Center for Expressive Technologies and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Courses Taught

  • ANT 201: Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 401: Culture and Health
  • ANT 460: Queer Anthropology
  • ANT/ISLA 393: Action Oriented Ethnography 
  • WGS/ES 350: Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology
  • ISLA 456: Advanced Project-Based Learning in Science, Technology & Society

Selected Research

Click here to see Dr. Carrigan's Google Scholar Page 

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