Features

Petri Dish

The petri dish was made for separation.  It was developed for culturing microorganisms while separating them from airborne contaminates.  As part of its ability to make separations between the contaminated world outside and the uncontaminated world inside, the dish also assisted in separating individuals from disease.  These days, it’s getting harder for petri dishes to maintain these separations.

Julius Richard …

Features

Manual

While training in psychiatry, I frequently heard mental-health practitioners refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as our profession’s “diagnostic bible.”  The DSM, of course, is the text produced by a cabal of psychiatric experts that defines the parameters of mental illness and, by extension, mental health.  It textually conveys the now commonplace assumption that psychiatry works through systems …

Features

A Home for Science: the Anthropology of Tropical and Arctic Field-Stations

While the AAAs were winding up in Chicago, participants in the workshop, A Home for Science: the Anthropology of Tropical and Arctic Field-Stations, started to make their way north to an even colder part of the world. Hosted by the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, co-organized by Wenzel Geissler, John Manton, Ann Kelly and Gro

Books

Claire Decoteau’s Ancestors and Antiretrovirals

Ancestors and Antiretrovirals:
The Biopolitics of HIV/AIDS in Post-Apartheid South Africa

by Claire Laurier Decoteau

University of Chicago Press, 2013, 324 pp.

 

The specter of “tradition versus modernity” returns as a conundrum for understanding and signifying HIV/AIDS in post-apartheid South Africa in Claire Decoteau’s sociological monograph, Ancestors and Antiretrovirals. Interpretive social scientists like Decoteau are well trained to …

Features

Reflex/Рефлекс

Reflex. The images themselves seem to come reflexively.  The clinician’s percussion hammer bouncing off of the knee. A startled infant.  I hadn’t thought much about the idea of the reflex. At least not since the fifth grade, when I had unsuccessfully tried to condition four white laboratory mice to respond either to the sound of a bell or a flashing …