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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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The collaborative turn: interdisciplinarity across the human sciences

Questions of health, medicine and science have long animated sub-disciplinary attentions in the social sciences and humanities. Recently, however, research around these topics has taken a marked collaborative turn. If topics in the medical and health sciences were once straightforward objects of study for anthropological, sociological or philosophical analysis, increasingly, to work ‘on’ such topics often means also to work …

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Experiments with pedagogy: Call for contributions

As teachers, we are increasingly called upon to promote student-centered learning and to build stronger links between teaching and disciplinary research in order to foster a culture that allows students “to take a research-based approach to their lifelong educational development” (Sproken-Smith & Walker, 2010). Scholars, academic administrators and institutions increasingly promote “inquiry-based learning”, a term referring to pedagogical …