Alen uses art practice and theories of aesthetics to address questions of science. He uses things common to his discipline of public health, like participatory action research and nutritional epidemiology, as phenomena by which to explore why different approaches to knowledge production differ in their authority and how scientific knowledge shapes how we think about health.
Alen is most invested in debates about what makes some forms of sciences appear more or less legitimate than others. Focusing on “public science,” a marginalized approach to inquiry because of its value in public participation, his research examines how credibility contests in the sciences are best resolved not by weighing techno-scientific characteristics but by unpacking science’s aesthetic sensibilities. Alen is performing this research by way of an experimental personal documentary film.
Alen is also concerned with how nutrition science ascribes meaning to what health is and can be. His dissertation will ethnographically trace the discovery, translation, and promotion of The Mediterranean Diet to explore how neglect over its sensory and aesthetic aspects puts disproportionately more emphasis on diet’s biomedical disease implications than “health itself.” Critical media tools help Alen conduct a sensory- and auto-ethnographic study to make explicit the humanism in nutritional epidemiology and how it shapes the life course of nutrition discoveries.
Alen is the first student in Critical Media Practice from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he is studying for his doctorate in Social & Behavioral Sciences. He is also a scholar through the New Civics Early Career Scholars Program through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Alen grew up in Kings Highway, Brooklyn. He arrived to the U.S. under refugee status in 1992 from Baku, Azerbaijan, a former republic of the Soviet Union.
External Link: https://scholar.harvard.edu/alenagaronov