Lectures

Head circumference

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In the early months of 2016, as global media sources incited fear among pregnant women that Zika would result in babies with small heads and stunted intellectual capacity, we found ourselves puzzled. [1] A scientific study in the Maya-Mam area of Guatemala where we were working had just reported exceptionally high rates of microcephaly. Because …

Lectures

The Social Life of Metrics

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La vida social de las métricas

Guatemala es uno de los países de Centroamérica que ha reportado en la última década uno de los problemas de crecimiento infantil más importantes en la región de América Latina y el mundo, el cual incluye a casi la mitad de los niños menores de cinco años (CEPAL,2018 ). [1]

Features

Funny, Awkward, Tender, Focused: Drawing Bodies

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Drawings from my research on childbirth in California created an opportunity for sharing reflections on fieldwork and “seeing.” Birth is a highly mediated experience, with ubiquitous images of happy, beautiful, peaceful babies and mammas crowding everything from packaging and magazines to instructional literature and advertisements for birth professionals. This birth imagery has a minor counterpart from the activist community that …

Features

Risk and utility in the governance of diagnostic testing: the case of genetic screening, 1960 to the present

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Routine collection of blood samples from neonates – often using so-called Guthrie cards (pictured) – began in the 1960s when a number of North American and European countries set up screening programmes for phenylketonuria, a rare single-gene disorder which leads to developmental delays and early death if untreated. Such programmes have since been introduced in many other countries around the …

Features

Texting Like A State: mHealth and the first thousand days in South Africa

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What does making a new life look like from the perspective of a mobile phone?

For the phone of a woman using the public health care system in Cape Town, South Africa, in all likelihood involves a series of WhatsApp conversations with a partner, with friends and kin. The phone helps with “Googling” questions about health and childcare, maybe about …

Features

‘On paper’ and ‘having papers’: migrants navigating medical xenophobia and obstetric rights in South Africa

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Chekero met Pauline at a local pharmacy in Giyani, a small town in the north-east of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The area is best known to foreigners as being close to the famous Kruger National Park, a tourist hotspot famous for ‘the Big Five’ game to which it is home. It is also an important receiving town for