Books

Patient Zero and the Making of a Myth: History as an Archaeology of the Present

Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic

Richard A. McKay

University of Chicago Press, 2017, 400 pages

 

“An innocent he was not. He eventually told health investigators that during the 1970s he’d had some 2,500 sexual contacts with men in Europe, Canada, South America – and in the large centers of gay lifestyle in New York and California.

Features

Politics by Other Means: Health in Việt Nam

My research in Việt Nam addresses how medicine, health, and disease function as political and cultural signifiers as well as telegraphing – in the form of epidemiological data and public health outcomes – important features of the socioeconomic order. While health and disease are highly politicized everywhere in the world, these issues take on intriguing significance in socialist and formerly …

Features

Cancer Culture avant la lettre

In the class I teach on illness narratives, cancer comes after the plague. In the realm of representation and cultural memory, infectious diseases have a long visual and allegorical pedigree. Pestilence is always already more than an epidemiological reality. With cancer culture things are different. A cursory search for early modern images of cancer in the U.S. National Library of …

Books

Sharon Batt’s Health Advocacy Inc. How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement

Health Advocacy Inc. How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement

Sharon Batt

UBC Press, 2017, 383 pages

 

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, Sharon Batt became of the one the most prominent figures of the grassroots breast cancer movement that flourished in North America during the 1990s. A committed journalist and editor working mainly for feminist …

Books

Omar Dewachi’s Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq

Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq

Omar Dewachi

Stanford University Press, 2017. 239 pp.

 

Every year, tens of thousands of Iraqi patients leave their country seeking healthcare, and Iraqi physicians move abroad seeking asylum and work. Omar Dewachi writes elsewhere about this crisis and the “therapeutic geographies”* it sets in motion, but in his book Ungovernable

Books

Agustin Fuentes’s The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional

The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional

Agustín Fuentes

Penguin, 2017, 352 pages

 

Agustín Fuentes’ The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional (Fuentes, 2017) identifies creativity and an ability to cooperate at an unprecedented scale as key driving forces in human evolution. Setting this book apart from others about the evolution of human mental and social faculties …