Are IRBs a Stumbling Block for an Engaged Anthropology?

Lorna Rhodes argued in a 2001 article entitled “Towards an Anthropology of Prisons” that we as a discipline have largely neglected the prison as a subject of anthropological attention. Loic Wacquant named this phenomenon “the curious eclipse of prison ethnography” among American anthropologists. In trying to understand the reasons behind such elisions, both Rhodes and Wacquant …


Call for abstracts: Ethics in the translation of neuroscience research to psychiatric and neurological care

This announcement is being circulated by Eric Racine (IRCM):

Call for abstracts – Brain Matters 2: Ethics in the translation of neuroscience research to psychiatric and neurological care

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to announce that the call for abstract (talks, panels, posters) for Brain Matters 2, an international conference in neuroethics, is now open. The deadline for submission is


Exotic guinea pigs at home: An ethnography of professional research subjects in the US

This post was contributed by Roberto Abadie (CUNY)

A few years ago anthropologist Michaela di Leonardo invited anthropologists to focus on what she called “exotics at home”. Her intention was to re-center anthropological inquiry, shifting the discipline’s emphasis on “the other”, often living in remote cultures, to groups living among us, right at home.  Di Leonardo reminded us …

In the Journals

Special issue of BioSocieties on biohistory

The latest issue of BioSocieties is another special issue, this one guest-edited by UCLA historian Soraya de Chadarevian and devoted to biohistory.  Here’s how de Chadarevian describes the central issues in her introduction:

“Genetic studies of human history often make headlines under such sensational titles as ‘Geneticists rewrite history’, ‘Pig DNA tells a different story of human migration’


Roberto Abadie investigates the world of ‘professional guinea pigs’

Anthropologyworks alerts us to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about medical anthropologist Roberto Abadie and his new ethnography on professional research subjects in clinical trials.  As the article explains, “Since 1980, when Phase 1 drug tests on prisoners were banned in the United States, university medical schools and pharmaceutical companies have depended on volunteers… to test …


Nancy Scheper-Hughes on the NJ corruption bust and illegal organ trafficking

One of the most shocking aspects of the sprawling corruption bust that brought down several New Jersey mayors yesterday, was the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn for attempting to arrange a donation of a kidney for $160,000. Moreover, it was apparently UC Berkeley’s Nancy Scheper-Hughes who, in 2002, first tipped off the FBI to her knowledge of …