Features

Putting Science in its Place

In some corners of anthropology, it has been said that science studies lacks a robust sense of place. But many capable ethnographers have brought labs, hospital suites, and production facilities to life, giving readers a granular sense for what distinguishes these sites from other milieux. What, precisely, might be missing? Consider the word “place.” As science studies scholars have repeatedly …

Books

Top of the heap: Ken MacLeish

This article is part of the series:

In today’s “Top of the heap,” Ken MacLeish, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, takes us into the world of war (and post-war) memoir, fiction and ethnography, also introducing us to some conceptual texts he’s been thinking with.

Ken MacLeish

Danny Hoffman, The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia

Features

Bleach

My friend Dr. Muñoz makes his own bleach.  He uses salt, water, and electrodes to render sodium hypochlorite.  To do this, he has colonized a small space in a garage-cum-storage unit nestled on the grounds of the Managua health center where he works.  His bleach-making is ad-hoc and off the books.  Dr. Muñoz doesn’t get extra money or time from …

Features

Petri Dish

The petri dish was made for separation.  It was developed for culturing microorganisms while separating them from airborne contaminates.  As part of its ability to make separations between the contaminated world outside and the uncontaminated world inside, the dish also assisted in separating individuals from disease.  These days, it’s getting harder for petri dishes to maintain these separations.

Julius Richard …

Books

Stefan Ecks’ Eating Drugs

Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India

by Stefan Ecks

New York University Press, 2013. 233 pp.

 

In Stefan Ecks’ poignant ethnography, he illuminates the relationship between digestive health and mental health in Calcutta, paying particular attention to the contributions this relationship has made to a pharmaceuticalized India. He traces three medical systems––Ayurvedic, homeopathic and allopathic––as they each locate the …

Books

Elizabeth Roberts’ God’s Laboratory

God’s Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes

by Elizabeth F. S. Roberts

University of California Press, 2012, 273 pp.

 

In God’s Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes, Elizabeth Roberts examines how science and spirituality are connected in the practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Ecuador. This alone is a significant contribution to the anthropology of assisted reproduction, …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: The Gut Microbiome and our Bacterial Selves

Attempts at understanding the true nature our innermost selves has long been a human preoccupation. Are our inner worlds populated with repressed memories and persistent neuroses? Or perhaps our genes direct and define us even as they hide in the interior spaces of our interior spaces? Well, now there is a new contender in the hidden constitution of human selfhood: …