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Top of the Heap: Reading in pairs with Ayo Wahlberg

This article is part of the series:

For this instalment of the Top of the Heap series, I spoke with Professor Ayo Wahlberg, who is Professor MSO in the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Good Quality: The Routinization of Sperm Banking in China and coeditor of Selective Reproduction in the Twenty-First Century and Southern Medicine for Southern People: Vietnamese Medicine

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Remaking Reproduction Conference: A Review

More than 150 scholars of reproduction descended upon an uncharacteristically sunny Cambridge in June 2018 to put reproduction at the center of social analysis at the Remaking Reproduction: The Global Politics of Reproductive Technologies conference. The Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), led by Professor Sarah Franklin at the University of Cambridge, organized the delivery of 90 papers, 4 plenary conversations …

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How to Pay Attention

This article is part of the series:

The main challenge in running a seminar on the anthropology of attention is that such a thing doesn’t exist.* While anthropologists often think quite deeply about attention, worrying about our own noticing practices or what our interlocutors focus on, we rarely write about the concept head-on. When we do write about attention, we rarely problematize it in the way we …

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Politics by Other Means: Health in Việt Nam

My research in Việt Nam addresses how medicine, health, and disease function as political and cultural signifiers as well as telegraphing – in the form of epidemiological data and public health outcomes – important features of the socioeconomic order. While health and disease are highly politicized everywhere in the world, these issues take on intriguing significance in socialist and formerly …

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Breaking news! Big Shift in Biomediatization from “Swine Flu” to H3N2 to the Trump Administration’s Attack on Breastfeeding

The H3N2 epidemic didn’t really take off until early January 2018—at least as far as US media coverage is concerned. A crucial marker was the New York Times‘ publication of an op-ed by a prominent germ cold warrior, Michael Osterholm, along with Mark Olshaker, co-author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs. Osterholm, extensively profiled by Andrew …

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Cancer Culture avant la lettre

Figure 1. Two views of Clara Jacobi (Netherlands, 1689). U.S. National Library of Medicine
https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-101392944-img

In the class I teach on illness narratives, cancer comes after the plague. In the realm of representation and cultural memory, infectious diseases have a long visual and allegorical pedigree. Pestilence is always already more than an epidemiological reality. With cancer culture things are different. …