University of Wisconsin–Madison

Michael Halpin

PhD student, Sociology

Faculty advisor: Joan Fujimura, Professor, Sociology

Halpin is a doctoral student in Sociology with a focus on ethnographic research in the fields of medical sociology, science studies and social psychology. His dissertation addresses how neuroscientific perspectives impact mental illness, specifically in relation to conceptualization, analysis and treatment of mental disorders. Halpin’s dissertation draws on 120 interviews with health professionals, researchers and individuals with mental health conditions, as well as one year of ethnographic observation of neuroscience laboratory. Along with fellow graduate student Dagoberto Cortez, he is also conducting an ethnographic investigation into mixed-martial arts (MMA), an increasingly popular combat sport. This project addresses stratification within MMA, use of performance enhancing drugs and fighters’ experiences with injuries. Halpin received his M.A. in sociology from the University of British Columbia and his B.A. from the University of Calgary. Halpin’s previous studies have focused on a number of topics, such as Huntington Disease, suicide, prostate cancer, and sex work. His research has appeared in Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness and Culture, Health and Sexuality.

Halpin is a 2014-2016 winner of the Two-year Top-up Fellowships from the Holtz Center, as well as the 2012 Holtz Graduate Scholars Summer Fellowship. In 2011 Halpin received the Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction from the government of Alberta, Canada, as well as a fellowship from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Halpin has also received research awards from the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the American Sociological Association. He is currently serving a two-year term as student representative for the American Sociological Association’s Section on Science, Knowledge and Technology.