For more than a century, we have relied on chemical cures to keep our bodies free from disease and our farms free from bugs and weeds. We rarely consider human and agricultural health together, but both are based on the same ecology, and both are being threatened by organisms that have evolved to resist our antibiotics and pesticides. Patients suffer from C.diff, a painful, potentially lethal gut infection associated with multiple rounds of antibiotics; orange groves rot from insect-borne bacteria; and the blight responsible for the Irish potato famine outmaneuvers fungicides. Our chemicals are failing us.
Fortunately, scientists are finding new solutions that work with, rather than against, nature. Emily Monosson explores science’s most innovative strategies, from high-tech gene editing to the ancient practice of fecal transplants. There are viruses that infect and bust apart bacteria; vaccines engineered to better provoke our natural defenses; and insect pheromones that throw crop-destroying moths into a misguided sexual frenzy. Some technologies will ultimately fizzle; others may hold the key to abundant food and unprecedented health. Each represents a growing understanding of how to employ ecology for our own protection.
Monosson gives readers a peek into the fascinating and hopeful world of natural defenses. Her book is full of optimism, not simply for particular cures, but for a sustainable approach to human welfare that will benefit generations to come.
Near Human takes us into the borders of human and animal life.In the animal facility, fragile piglets substitute for humans who cannot be experimented on. In the neonatal intensive care unit, extremely premature infants prompt questions about whether they are too fragile to save or, if they survive, whether they will face a life of severe disability. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out on farms, in animal-based experimental science labs, and in hospitals, Mette N. Svendsen shows that practices of substitution redirect the question of "what it means" to be human to "what it takes" to be human. The near humanness of preterm infants and research piglets becomes an avenue to unravel how neonatal life is imagined, how societal belonging is evaluated, and how the Danish welfare state is forged. This courageous multi-sited and multi-species approach cracks open the complex ethical field of valuating life and making different kinds of pigs and different kinds of humans belong in Denmark.
In the United States, the “right to choose” an abortion is the law of the land. But what if a woman continues her pregnancy because she didn’t really have a choice? What if state laws, federal policies, stigma, and a host of other obstacles push that choice out of her reach?
Based on candid, in-depth interviews with women who considered but did not obtain an abortion, No Real Choice punctures the myth that American women have full autonomy over their reproductive choices. Focusing on the experiences of a predominantly Black and low-income group of women, sociologist Katrina Kimport finds that structural, cultural, and experiential factors can make choosing abortion impossible–especially for those who experience racism and class discrimination. From these conversations, we see the obstacles to “choice” these women face, such as bans on public insurance coverage of abortion and rampant antiabortion claims that abortion is harmful. Kimport's interviews reveal that even as activists fight to preserve Roe v. Wade, class and racial disparities have already curtailed many women’s freedom of choice.
No Real Choice analyzes both the structural obstacles to abortion and the cultural ideologies that try to persuade women not to choose abortion. Told with care and sensitivity,No Real Choice gives voice to women whose experiences are often overlooked in debates on abortion, illustrating how real reproductive choice is denied, for whom, and at what cost.
In Not Quite a Cancer Vaccine, medical anthropologist S.D. Gottlieb explores how the vaccine Gardasil—developed against the most common sexually-transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV)—was marketed primarily as a cervical cancer vaccine. Gardasil quickly became implicated in two pre-existing debates—about adolescent sexuality and pediatric vaccinations more generally.
Prior to its market debut, Gardasil seemed to offer female empowerment, touting protection against HPV and its potential for cervical cancer. Gottlieb questions the marketing pitch’s vaunted promise and asks why vaccine marketing unnecessarily gendered the vaccine’s utility, undermining Gardasil’s benefit for men and women alike. This book demonstrates why in the ten years since Gardasil’s U.S. launch its low rates of public acceptance have their origins in the early days of the vaccine dissemination. Not Quite a Cancer Vaccine addresses the on-going expansion in U.S. healthcare of patients-as-consumers and the ubiquitous, and sometimes insidious, health marketing of large pharma.
Modern health care cannot exist without professional nurses. Throughout the twentieth century, there was seldom a sustained period when the supply of nurses was equal to demand. Nursing the Nation offers a historical analysis of the relationship between the development of nurse employment arrangements with patients and institutions and the appearance of nurse shortages from 1890 to 1950. The response to nursing supply and demand problems by health care institutions and policy-making organizations failed to address nurse workforce issues adequately, and this failure resulted in, at times, profound and lengthy nurse shortages. Nurses also lost the ability to control their own destiny within health care institutions while nevertheless establishing themselves as the most critical part of health care provision today.