STUDENTS | Alex Rewegan

Alex Rewegan

Current Research Areas: anthropology of biology and medicine; feminist science studies; cannabis; drugs and society; plant-human relations; matter and materiality; naturecultures; capitalisms and value; affective ecologies; sciences of the mind and brain; race, gender, and science

Drawing on the history and anthropology of medicine, food, and agriculture, Alex’s ethnographic research investigates the ongoing processes of cannabis legalization in the United States and Canada. His dissertation explores the scientization of the plant and its substances, analyzing how differently situated actors deploy science and technology in their efforts to craft, regulate, and participate in legal cannabis markets. His fieldwork follows the multiple social lives of cannabis as it moves from farms to biomedical laboratories to consumers and patients, with critical attention on how the logics of global prohibition and its racist and classist underpinnings both inform and are challenged by legalization.


His research highlights and assesses emerging technoscientific ideas and practices that might promise more emancipatory medicinal and agricultural economies with broader implications for the nature of racial capitalism and industrialized farming in the face of climate change. In particular, he focuses on how the notions of “sustainability” and “social equity” are integrated into emerging legal frameworks and with what actual consequences for farmers, businesses, and users. Geographically, Alex conducts fieldwork in Northern California, Ontario, Canada, and the North-East, USA. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Martin Family Society of Fellows for Sustainability at MIT.


Alex holds a B.A. in Anthropology from McMaster University and an M.A. in Social Anthropology from York University, Toronto. Alongside his degree studies he has worked as a qualitative researcher for McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine, the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, and the Program for Educational Research and Development. At York University he worked with colleagues on the interdisciplinary team Re-Imagining Long-Term Residential Care, critically analyzing the current state of end-of-life care in nursing homes across six countries. From 2023-2024, Alex is working as a Teaching Development Fellow affiliated with MIT’s Teaching and Learning Lab.

Selected Publications

2024. “Carceral Pharmacology: Historicizing the Sciences of Cannabis and Pregnancy.”

2024. “Cannabis Use and Perinatal Health.”

2024. “Association between social vulnerability and place of death during the first 2 years of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.”

2021. “Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice: A Survey of Cannabis Business Practices in North-East USA and Canada.”

2020. “How Do Physicians and Nurses in Family Practice Describe Their Care for Patients with Progressive Life-limiting Illness? A Qualitative Study of a ‘Palliative Approach’.”

2017. “Intensifying Relational Care: The Challenge of Dying in Long-Term Residential Care.”

2016. “Diet Modification Challenges Faced by Marginalized and Nonmarginalized Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Qualitative Meta-synthesis.”