Alen Agaronov

Alen Agaronov

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (’20)
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
alen.agaronov [at]

Alen is a Registered Dietitian bent on humanizing the way scientists and clinicians approach nutrition research. His dissertation will integrate nutritional epidemiology and food anthropology into “cultural nutritional epidemiology,” which focuses not only on the statistical distributions of diet-related disease, but also people’s experiences and meaning-making of food and health. True to what distinguishes the arts from the sciences, Critical Media Practice will give Alen an opportunity to use nutrition as a springboard to produce a documentary on health (not disease) and the illness experience, unpacking conceptions of biopolitics, health governance, science communication, and nutrition theory along the way. Nutrition aside, Alen is also heavily invested in the theory and practice of Participatory Action Research (PAR), a critical approach to knowledge generation in the spirit of social change. He hopes to capture the empirical and aesthetic qualities of PAR through critical media to lend greater legitimacy to “public science” in the present anti-science climate.

Alen is the first student in Critical Media Practice from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he is getting a Doctor of Science in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences after transferring from the Department of Nutrition. He is also a New Civics Scholar through the Early Career Scholars Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with support from the Spencer Foundation. Prior to Harvard, Alen received an accelerated BS-MS degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health at Hunter College.

This Fall (2017) Alen will be a Teaching Fellow for an exciting new General Education course offered through the Faculty of Art and Sciences, “Rx: Arts for Global Health,” with Professor Doris Sommer.

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 with a population that is 95% Muslim.

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