Oliver Rollins


Oliver Rollins is a qualitative sociologist who works on issues of race/racism in and through science and technology. Specifically, his research explores how racial identity, racialized discourses, and systemic practices of social difference influence, engage with, and are affected by, the making and use of neuroscientific technologies and knowledges.


Rollins is an assistant professor in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. Previously, he received his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from the University of California, San Francisco; an M.A. in Pan-African Studies from the University of Louisville; and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Houston.


Rollins’s recent book, Conviction: The Making and Unmaking of The Violent Brain (Stanford University Press, 2021), traces the development and use of neuroimaging research on anti-social behaviors and crime, with special attention to the limits of this controversial brain model when dealing with aspects of social difference, power, and inequality.


Rollins’s current research focuses on 1) the social implications and challenges of operationalizing racial prejudice, implicit bias, and identity as neurobiological processes, and 2) the politics of social justice and (neuro)science, which aims to elucidate the socio-political vulnerabilities and anti-racist promises for contemporary neuroscientific practices. Rollins teaches courses on the social (racialized) implications of science & technology; theories of race and blackness; and bioethics and biopolitics of biomedical knowledge.