Kempner studies science, medicine, and inequality, with a focus on the politics of pain and its treatment. Kempner's award-winning research gives voice to those who are too often silenced, and
addresses questions too often ignored: Whose pain matters? Why are there so few effective treatments for pain? What are the challenges of living a life in pain? Kempner is currently studying
the role that patient-led research has played in the so-called “psychedelic renaissance.”
In the News
Argues that STS scholars best resist a “post-truth” society by insisting their analyses uncover relationships between knowledge, ignorance, and power.
Investigates the extent to which stigma attaches to migraine, using epilepsy as a comparison. Finds adjusted stigma was similar for chronic migraine and epilepsy, which were greater than for episodic migraine. Stigma correlated most strongly with inability to work.
Discusses how researchers increasingly value patient-led research for its ability to produce quick results from large samples. Finds that the collaborative context of online health communities transforms the practice and epistemological foundations of self-experimentation, which raises important questions how data collected in these studies ought to be understood and analyzed.
Presents a phenomenological examination of ‘‘forbidden knowledge’’—knowledge considered too sensitive, dangerous, or taboo to produce. Elaborates on forbidden knowledge, we argue, can be hard to identify, since its contents are continuously created in the everyday practices of working scientists.
Asks why migraine--one of the most common, painful, and disabling diseases in the world—is largely ignored as a public health problem, despite the fact that researchers now understand migraine to be a neurobiological disease with potentially serious outcomes. Argues about the enduring stigma that burdens migraine and those who have it and casts new light on how cultural beliefs about gender and pain have been established.
Argues for a neuroethics that engages in the biopolitics of pain, placing social justice, human rights and the public interest at the center of its analysis. Presents an argument for how neuroscience might avoid reifying racial and gender disparities or, better yet help reduce these disparities and enable more equitable care.