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Bio-ethnography, a view from philosophy

Full frontal disclosure: I am not an anthropologist (by training). But my work is informed by historical research, ethnographic methods, and critical anthropology of science. And as someone who has –Developmental Systems Theory willing- taken on the inquiry of scientific research exploring gene-disease associations, I side with Liz Roberts’ want for a “synthetic, symmetrical analysis that understands environment-body interactions as …

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Bio-Ethnography: A Collaborative, Methodological Experiment in Mexico City

In 1993, a team of U.S.-based environmental health researchers partnered with public health officials in Mexico to form ELEMENT (Early Life Exposure in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants). The project aimed to study the effects of chemical exposures, particularly lead, on fetal and childhood growth and neurological development in what the United Nation then designated as the most polluted city on …

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Conference Synopsis: The End of biodetermism? New Directions for Medical Anthropology

End of Biodeterminism

What is biodeterminism? Has it ended and did it ever exist? Earlier this month at Aarhus University, these seemingly straightforward questions resulted in three days of fascinating conversation during a conference titled “The End of biodetermism? New Directions for Medical Anthropology.”  The event, co-organized by the Centre for Cultural Epidemics (EPICENTER), the Interacting Minds Centre for the Study of

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Ontology as an analytical approach to concerns of medical anthropology

What might arise from an encounter between medical anthropology and science and technology studies (STS) as they investigate the common subject of health and (bio)medicine? One answer could be found at the panel Repositioning health, illness and the body: the challenge of new theoretical approaches to medical anthropology, organized by Simon Cohn and Rebecca Lynch at ASA[1] decennial

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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 …