Tu Youyou and the Nobel Prize

When I interviewed Professor Tu Youyou in 2005 — in her office at the Chinese Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the work unit within which she had spent her entire life after completing a doctorate in chemistry at Beida (the University of Beijing) — I did not expect her to receive any further awards, and certainly neither the Lasker nor …


Making a Case for Reducing Pollution in China, or The Case of the Ugly Sperm

The Chinese film, Under the Dome, tells the story of a former CCTV news anchor’s struggle to understand and deal with smog in the wake of her pregnancy and motherhood. The filmmaker and narrator, Chai Jing, makes a case for reducing pollution in China by highlighting the potential correlation between Beijing’s smog and the tumor found in her developing fetus, …


From the dragon’s perspective: an initial report on China’s response to the unfolding Ebola epidemic

This article is part of the series:


On a steamy mid-August afternoon, Mariatu Kargbo, a Sierra Leonian expat residing in Beijing, stood at the front of a packed hotel ballroom. As reported by Xinhua News (新华网), Kargbo addressed the crowd, saying:

I know everyone has come because they would like to support us, but I really didn’t know that today so many people would come, thank you


Persistent pathogen: A conference report of anthropological research on tuberculosis

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The 2013 World TB Day theme was “Stop TB in my lifetime,” calling attention to both the goal of virtually eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2050, as well as the Stop TB Partnership, established in 2000, through which global antituberculosis activities are coordinated. Despite this valiant slogan, tuberculosis control is at an important crossroads. In 2012, there were an estimated …


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 …


Book review: Health Transitions and the Double Disease Burden in Asia and the Pacific

Health Transitions and the Double Disease Burden in Asia and the Pacific: Histories of Responses to Non-Communicable and Communicable Diseases

Edited by Milton J. Lewis and Kerrie L. MacPherson

Routledge Publishing, 2012

322 pp., US $155.00 (hardback)


The phrase “double disease burden” is one that has been increasingly used in modern public health discussions.  The concept applies to “developing …