Books

Julie Livingston’s Improvising Medicine

Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic

by Julie Livingston

Duke University Press, 2012

 

Julie Livingston’s Improvising Medicine is a lucid, poignant, and devastating book about the stakes of a growing cancer epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa that is trailing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This ethnography takes place mainly on the recently established oncology ward of Princess …

Features

The Recent History of “Contagious Shooting” (1982-2006) and more recent events in Ferguson, Missouri

A version of this post first appeared on Stephen T. Casper’s blog, The Neuro Times.

In the decade since the “Decade of the Brain,” the neurosciences have acquired a spectacular cache in the humanities and social sciences. One need look no further than the work of Nikolas Rose and Joelle M. Abi-Rached, scholars who argue in their striking volume …

Books

Descombes’ The Institutions of Meaning

The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism

by Vincent Descombes

translated by Stephen Adam Schwartz. Harvard University Press, 2014. 392 pp.

 

How is what is “in” our minds, as thought, also something that we share, communicate, and can understand? This question, however posed, must be fundamental for any anthropological approach to mental life. In the course of …

Features

How the Face Became an Organ

On July 3 of this year, the face became an “organ”. Changes to US Federal health policy came into effect, moving face transplantation into the jurisdiction of medical procedures governed and administrated by the agencies that oversee the US national transplant system – the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). This policy …

In the Journals

In the Journals (August 2014)

Welcome to the August 2014 edition of In the Journals, just in time to kick off the transition from summer back to the start of the academic year. Without further ado…

 

American Ethnologist 

Infrastructure and interpretation: meters, dams, and state imagination in Scotland and India

Leo Coleman

The technical infrastructures of modern life—energy, communications, transport—stand at the juncture …

Features

Pesticides and global health: ‘ambivalent objects’ in anthropological perspective

Pesticides: can’t live with them, can’t live without them

In Sri Lanka, producers of the illicit liquor kasippu sometimes suspend a bottle of pesticide above the vat during the fermentation process. It is believed the kasippu will absorb the potency of the pesticide and add to its strength, increasing drinkers’ intoxication and pleasure. But there is also a danger the …

Features

Remaking Local Biologies in an Epigenetic Time

Premise and Summary

This is a very provisional text,[1] part of a broader book-length research (forthcoming from Palgrave in 2015) on ‘political epistemology’, a construct I use to investigate the coproduction of epistemological facts and socio-political values in the history of the life-sciences (e.g.: how certain views of heredity, development, nature/nurture potentially favor certain political values and …