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Dr. Charles Allan McCoy

Assistant Professor of Sociology

My research is concerned with the development of public health, specifically the formation of national systems of disease control. I am interested in how a state’s disease control strategies influences how it relates to its citizens and the type of power it is able to exert over their lives.

I have examined the development of disease control through tracing the state response to outbreaks of disease in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 19th century to the early 20th century. I describe how the scientific theories that existed when each country started to form its system of disease control and where in the state apparatus disease control is located helped shape how each country developed, over time, its own style of controlling disease. I have used this historical data to understand the differences in how the US and the UK respond to contemporary biological threats like SARS, avian flu, swine flu, and most recently Ebola.

I have presented my work at academic conferences, published essays in the popular press, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Burlington Free Press, and academic journals.


  • Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Virginia, 2013
  • M.A. in Sociology, University of Virginia, 2008
  • B.A. in Philosophy, McGill University, 1999

Teaching Areas

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Sociology of Aging and Death
  • Comparative-Historical Sociology

Research Areas

  • Medical Sociology
  • Comparative-Historical Sociology
  • Political Sociology
  • Sociology of Knowledge and Science
  • Sociology of Culture

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

  • “Ebola Quarantine based in the History, not the science, of Disease Control.” Burlington Free Press — Opinion section. Thursday, November 20, 2014.
  • “Emphasis on Bioterror can Limit Efforts Needed to Fight Viruses.” Philadelphia Inquirer — Opinion section. Sunday, December 15, 2013.
  • “Watching ‘Bad’ Television: Ironic Consumption, Camp, and Guilty Pleasures.” Poetics, Vol. 47: 41–59, December 2014 (with Roscoe Scarborough).
  • “Moral Reactions to Reality TV: Television Viewers Endogenous and Exogenous Loci of Morality.” Journal of Consumer Culture, In-press (with Roscoe Scarborough).
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