Ashton Merck, PhD

Ashton MerckVisiting Lecturer at Duke Kunshan University, Kunshan, China

Ashton Merck is a historian of law, business, and policy whose research focuses on how societies define and regulate uncertain risks. Her dissertation analyzed the evolution of self-regulation in food safety over the last half of the twentieth century, using a case study of the American poultry industry. Merck’s research agenda has been shaped by a series of interdisciplinary research collaborations. While in graduate school, Merck worked with social scientists, natural scientists, and lawyers on a variety of projects, including: the environmental impacts of livestock production, the role of gender in the success or failure of rural electrification projects, and the regulation of the word “natural” on food products. At Duke, Merck has taught “The Modern Regulatory State,” and been featured as a guest expert in “Risk Regulation in the US, Europe, and Beyond.” Currently, Merck is revising her dissertation manuscript for publication and expanding a working paper on the risks and benefits of genetically modified salmon.