Claire Decoteau

Professor of Sociology


A woman sits in a blue sofa

Claire Decoteau (Photo: Jenny Fontaine/ UIC)

Claire Decoteau’s research focuses on understanding health inequities from the perspective of those who suffer the worst effects and have the least influence to change policies, as well as how international agencies and scientific institutions contribute to health inequality.  

Her books “Ancestors and Antiretrovirals: The Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS in Post-Apartheid South Africa” and “The Western Disease: Contesting Autism in the Somali Diaspora” used ethnographic and historical research and interview data to study the interplay of politics, immigration, racial marginalization and health. For “Emergency: COVID-19 and the Uneven Valuation of Life,” Decoteau conducted hundreds of interviews with Chicago residents, policymakers and health care workers to analyze the uneven impact of the pandemic in Chicago. In summer 2024, she began a project investigating the barriers that pregnant women face when they must travel across state lines to receive an abortion, with a particular focus on low-income women of color. 

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