Biocapital is a major theoretical contribution to science studies and political economy. Grounding his analysis in a multi-sited ethnography of genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India, Kaushik Sunder Rajan argues that contemporary biotechnologies such as genomics can only be understood in relation to the economic markets within which they emerge. Sunder Rajan conducted fieldwork in biotechnology labs and in small start-up companies in the United States (mostly in the San Francisco Bay area) and India (mainly in New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bombay) over a five-year period spanning 1999 to 2004. He draws on his research with scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and policymakers to compare drug development in the two countries, examining the practices and goals of research, the financing mechanisms, the relevant government regulations, and the hype and marketing surrounding promising new technologies. In the process, he illuminates the global flow of ideas, information, capital, and people connected to biotech initiatives.
Sunder Rajan’s ethnography informs his theoretically sophisticated inquiry into how the contemporary world is shaped by the marriage of biotechnology and market forces, by what he calls technoscientific capitalism. Bringing Marxian theories of value into conversation with Foucaultian notions of biopolitics, he traces how the life sciences came to be significant producers of both economic and epistemic value in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.
Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian Londonexplores not only the challenges faced by reformers as they strove toclean up an increasingly filthy city but the resistance to their efforts.Beginning in the 1830s, reform-minded citizens, under the banner of sanitaryimprovement, plunged into London’s dark and dirty spaces and returned withthe material they needed to promote public health legislation and magnificentprojects of sanitary engineering. Sanitary reform, however, was not alwaysmet with unqualified enthusiasm. While some improvements, such as slumclearances, the development of sewerage, and the embankment of the Thames,may have made London a cleaner place to live, these projects also destroyedand reshaped the built environment, and in doing so, altered the meanings andexperiences of the city.
From the novels of Charles Dickens and George Gissing to anonymous magazinearticles and pamphlets, resistance to reform found expression in the nostalgicappreciation of a threatened urban landscape and anxiety about domestic autonomyin an era of networked sanitary services. Cleansing the City emphasizes the disruptions and disorientation occasioned by purification—a process we are generally inclined to see as positive. By recovering these sometimes oppositional, sometimes ambivalent responses, Michelle Allen elevates a significant undercurrent of Victorian thought into the mainstream and thus provides insight into the contested nature of sanitary modernization.
Colonial Pathologies is a groundbreaking history of the role of science and medicine in the American colonization of the Philippines from 1898 through the 1930s. Warwick Anderson describes how American colonizers sought to maintain their own health and stamina in a foreign environment while exerting control over and “civilizing” a population of seven million people spread out over seven thousand islands. In the process, he traces a significant transformation in the thinking of colonial doctors and scientists about what was most threatening to the health of white colonists. During the late nineteenth century, they understood the tropical environment as the greatest danger, and they sought to help their fellow colonizers to acclimate. Later, as their attention shifted to the role of microbial pathogens, colonial scientists came to view the Filipino people as a contaminated race, and they launched public health initiatives to reform Filipinos’ personal hygiene practices and social conduct.
A vivid sense of a colonial culture characterized by an anxious and assertive white masculinity emerges from Anderson’s description of American efforts to treat and discipline allegedly errant Filipinos. His narrative encompasses a colonial obsession with native excrement, a leper colony intended to transform those considered most unclean and least socialized, and the hookworm and malaria programs implemented by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920s and 1930s. Throughout, Anderson is attentive to the circulation of intertwined ideas about race, science, and medicine. He points to colonial public health in the Philippines as a key influence on the subsequent development of military medicine and industrial hygiene, U.S. urban health services, and racialized development regimes in other parts of the world.
How should we understand the fear and fascination elicited by the accounts of communicable disease outbreaks that proliferated, following the emergence of HIV, in scientific publications and the mainstream media? The repetition of particular characters, images, and story lines—of Patients Zero and superspreaders, hot zones and tenacious microbes—produced a formulaic narrative as they circulated through the media and were amplified in popular fiction and film. The “outbreak narrative” begins with the identification of an emerging infection, follows it through the global networks of contact and contagion, and ends with the epidemiological work that contains it. Priscilla Wald argues that we need to understand the appeal and persistence of the outbreak narrative because the stories we tell about disease emergence have consequences. As they disseminate information, they affect survival rates and contagion routes. They upset economies. They promote or mitigate the stigmatizing of individuals, groups, locales, behaviors, and lifestyles.
Wald traces how changing ideas about disease emergence and social interaction coalesced in the outbreak narrative. She returns to the early years of microbiology—to the identification of microbes and “Typhoid Mary,” the first known healthy human carrier of typhoid in the United States—to highlight the intertwined production of sociological theories of group formation (“social contagion”) and medical theories of bacteriological infection at the turn of the twentieth century. Following the evolution of these ideas, Wald shows how they were affected by—or reflected in—the advent of virology, Cold War ideas about “alien” infiltration, science-fiction stories of brainwashing and body snatchers, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Contagious is a cautionary tale about how the stories we tell circumscribe our thinking about global health and human interactions as the world imagines—or refuses to imagine—the next Great Plague.
America had a radically different relationship with drugs a century ago. Drug prohibitions were few, and while alcohol was considered a menace, the public regularly consumed substances that are widely demonized today. Heroin was marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and marijuana was available as a tincture of cannabis sold by Parke Davis and Company.
Exploring how this rather benign relationship with psychoactive drugs was transformed into one of confusion and chaos, The Cult of Pharmacology tells the dramatic story of how, as one legal drug after another fell from grace, new pharmaceutical substances took their place. Whether Valium or OxyContin at the pharmacy, cocaine or meth purchased on the street, or alcohol and tobacco from the corner store, drugs and drug use proliferated in twentieth-century America despite an escalating war on “drugs.”
Richard DeGrandpre, a past fellow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and author of the best-selling book Ritalin Nation, delivers a remarkably original interpretation of drugs by examining the seductive but ill-fated belief that they are chemically predestined to be either good or evil. He argues that the determination to treat the medically sanctioned use of drugs such as Miltown or Seconal separately from the illicit use of substances like heroin or ecstasy has blinded America to how drugs are transformed by the manner in which a culture deals with them.
Bringing forth a wealth of scientific research showing the powerful influence of social and psychological factors on how the brain is affected by drugs, DeGrandpre demonstrates that psychoactive substances are not angels or demons irrespective of why, how, or by whom they are used. The Cult of Pharmacology is a bold and necessary new account of America’s complex relationship with drugs.
“Beware! Against the poison that is Africa, there is but one antidote: Vichy.” So ran a 1924 advertisement for one of France’s main spas. Throughout the French empire, spas featuring water cures, often combined with “climatic” cures, thrived during the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Water cures and high-altitude resorts were widely believed to serve vital therapeutic and even prophylactic functions against tropical disease and the tropics themselves. The Ministry of the Colonies published bulletins accrediting a host of spas thought to be effective against tropical ailments ranging from malaria to yellow fever; specialized guidebooks dispensed advice on the best spas for “colonial ills.” Administrators were granted regular furloughs to “take the waters” back home in France. In the colonies, spas assuaged homesickness by creating oases of France abroad. Colonizers frequented spas to maintain their strength, preserve their French identity, and cultivate their difference from the colonized.
Combining the histories of empire, leisure, tourism, culture, and medicine, Eric T. Jennings sheds new light on the workings of empire by examining the rationale and practice of French colonial hydrotherapy between 1830 and 1962. He traces colonial acclimatization theory and the development of a “science” of hydrotherapy appropriate to colonial spaces, and he chronicles and compares the histories of spas in several French colonies—Guadeloupe, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Réunion—and in France itself. Throughout Curing the Colonizers, Jennings illuminates the relationship between indigenous and French colonial therapeutic knowledge as well as the ultimate failure of the spas to make colonialism physically or morally safe for the French.
Why is the American system of death investigation so inconsistent and inadequate? In this unique political and cultural history, Jeffrey Jentzen draws on archives, interviews, and his own career as a medical examiner to look at the way that a long-standing professional and political rivalry controls public medical knowledge and public health.
While the creation of Dolly the sheep, the world's most famous clone, triggered an enormous amount of discussion about human cloning, in Dolly Mixtures the anthropologist Sarah Franklin looks beyond that much-rehearsed controversy to some of the other reasons why the iconic animal's birth and death were significant. Building on the work of historians and anthropologists, Franklin reveals Dolly as the embodiment of agricultural, scientific, social, and commercial histories which are, in turn, bound up with national and imperial aspirations. Dolly was the offspring of a long tradition of animal domestication, as well as the more recent histories of capital accumulation through selective breeding, and enhanced national competitiveness through the control of biocapital. Franklin traces Dolly's connections to Britain's centuries-old sheep and wool markets (which were vital to the nation's industrial revolution) and to Britain's export of animals to its colonies—particularly Australia—to expand markets and produce wealth. Moving forward in time, she explains the celebrity sheep's links to the embryonic cell lines and global bioscientific innovation of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.
Franklin combines wide-ranging sources—from historical accounts of sheep-breeding, to scientific representations of cloning by nuclear transfer, to popular media reports of Dolly's creation and birth—as she draws on gender and kinship theory as well as postcolonial and science studies. She argues that there is an urgent need for more nuanced responses to the complex intersections between the social and the biological, intersections which are literally reshaping reproduction and genealogy. In Dolly Mixtures, Franklin uses the renowned sheep as an opportunity to begin developing a critical language to identify and evaluate the reproductive possibilities that post-Dolly biology now faces, and to look back at some of the important historical formations that enabled and prefigured Dollys creation.
The Dread Disease
James T. PATTERSON Harvard University Press, 1987 Library of Congress RC276.P38 1987 | Dewey Decimal 362.19699400973
Cancer is that “loathsome beast, which seized upon the breast, drove its long claws into the surrounding tissues, derived its sustenance by sucking out the juices of its victims, and never even relaxed its hold in death,” a turn-of-the-century physician recorded. Even today cancer affects the popular imagination with dread. In a subtle and penetrating cultural history, James Patterson examines reactions to the disease through a century of American life.
The modern American preoccupation with cancer was apparent during the widely publicized illness and death from that ailment of Ulysses S. Grant in 1885. Awareness of the disease soon figured heavily in the public consciousness, and individual reactions to it continue to reveal broader tensions within American society. Patterson examines responses to cancer by researchers and physicians, quacks and faith healers, by the multitude who have heard sensational media reports of “cures,” as well as by many who have had firsthand experiences with the disease.
Optimistic attitudes of many experts contrast sharply with the skepticism of large segments of the population—often the less wealthy and the less educated—that reject the claims of medical science and resist the advice or, some argue, the paternalistic dictates of the government-supported cancer research establishment.
Expanding expectations of a cure from a confident medical profession; the rise of a government-supported Cancer Establishment managing a large research empire; the emergence of a “cancer counterculture”; a new emphasis on prevention through control of the environment and the self; and the private fears and pessimism of millions of Americans form a telling history of American social patterns. Whether the issue is smoking, pollution, or regular checkups, attitudes toward cancer reflect more general views on medicine, public policy, and illness, as well as on death and dying. This century has witnessed both a biomedical revolution and a vastly increased role of the state in the private lives of citizens; but not everyone has bought the medical package, and many have little faith in government intervention.
Readers interested in the cultural dimensions of science and medicine as well as historians, sociologists, and political scientists will be enlightened and challenged by The Dread Disease.
Alexandra Minna Stern is Associate Director of the Center for the History of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and American Culture at the University of Michigan. Howard Markel is the George Edward Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, and Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.
From Popular Medicine to Medical Populism presents the history of medical practice in Costa Rica from the late colonial era—when none of the fifty thousand inhabitants had access to a titled physician, pharmacist, or midwife—to the 1940s, when the figure of the qualified medical doctor was part of everyday life for many of Costa Rica’s nearly one million citizens. It is the first book to chronicle the history of all healers, both professional and popular, in a Latin American country during the national period. Steven Palmer breaks with the view of popular and professional medicine as polar opposites—where popular medicine is seen as representative of the authentic local community and as synonymous with oral tradition and religious and magical beliefs and professional medicine as advancing neocolonial interests through the work of secular, trained academicians. Arguing that there was significant and formative overlap between these two forms of medicine, Palmer shows that the relationship between practitioners of each was marked by coexistence, complementarity, and dialogue as often as it was by rivalry. Palmer explains that while the professionalization of medical practice was intricately connected to the nation-building process, the Costa Rican state never consistently displayed an interest in suppressing the practice of popular medicine. In fact, it persistently found both tacit and explicit ways to allow untitled healers to practice. Using empirical and archival research to bring people (such as the famous healer or curandero Professor Carlos Carbell), events, and institutions (including the Rockefeller Foundation) to life, From Popular Medicine to Medical Populism demonstrates that it was through everyday acts of negotiation among agents of the state, medical professionals, and popular practitioners that the contours of Costa Rica’s modern, heterogeneous health care system were established.
A novel inquiry into the sociopolitical dimensions of public medicine, Healing the Land and the Nation traces the relationships between disease, hygiene, politics, geography, and nationalism in British Mandatory Palestine between the world wars. Taking up the case of malaria control in Jewish-held lands, Sandra Sufian illustrates how efforts to thwart the disease were intimately tied to the project of Zionist nation-building, especially the movement’s efforts to repurpose and improve its lands. The project of eradicating malaria also took on a metaphorical dimension—erasing anti-Semitic stereotypes of the “parasitic” Diaspora Jew and creating strong, healthy Jews in Palestine. Sufian shows that, in reclaiming the land and the health of its people in Palestine, Zionists expressed key ideological and political elements of their nation-building project.
Taking its title from a Jewish public health mantra, Healing the Land and the Nation situates antimalarial medicine and politics within larger colonial histories. By analyzing the science alongside the politics of Jewish settlement, Sufian addresses contested questions of social organization and the effects of land reclamation upon the indigenous Palestinian population in a decidedly innovative way. The book will be of great interest to scholars of the Middle East, Jewish studies, and environmental history, as well as to those studying colonialism, nationalism, and public health and medicine.
Between 1850 and 1900, Milwaukee’s rapid population growth also gave rise to high death rates, infectious diseases, crowded housing, filthy streets, inadequate water supplies, and incredible stench. The Healthiest City shows how a coalition of reform groups brought about community education and municipal action to achieve for Milwaukee the title of “the healthiest city” by the 1930s. This highly praised book reminds us that cutting funds and regulations for preserving public health results in inconvenience, illness, and even death.
“A major work. . . . Leavitt focuses on three illustrative issues—smallpox, garbage, and milk, representing the larger areas of infectious disease, sanitation, and food control.”—Norman Gevitz, Journal of the American Medical Association
“Leavitt’s research provides additional evidence . . . that improvements in sanitation, living conditions, and diet contributed more to the overall decline in mortality rates than advances in medical practice. . . . A solid contribution to the history of urban reform politics and public health.”—Jo Ann Carrigan, Journal of American History
Heredity and Hope
Ruth Schwartz COWAN Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress RB155.65.C69 2008 | Dewey Decimal 616.042
Neither minimizing the difficulty of the choices that modern genetics has created for us nor fearing them, Cowan argues that we can improve the quality of our own lives and the lives of our children by using the modern science and technology of genetic screening responsibly.
Homicidal Insanity, 1800-1985
Janet Colaizzi, with a foreword by Jonas R. Rappeport University of Alabama Press, 1988 Library of Congress RA1151.C8 1989 | Dewey Decimal 614.1
Homicidal insanity has remained a vexation to both the psychiatric and legal professions despite the panorama of scientific and social change during the past 200 years. The predominant opinion today among psychiatrists is that no correlation exists between dangerousness and specific mental disorders. But for generation after generation, psychiatrists have reported cases of insane homicide that were clinically similar. Although psychiatric theory changed and psychiatric nosology was inconsistent, the mental phenomena psychiatrists identified in such cases remained the same. The central thesis of Homicidal Insanity is that as psychiatric theory changed, psychiatrists regarded these phenomena variously as symptoms of mental disease or the disease in itself. It is possible to trace these phenomena throughout the history of Anglo-American psychiatric theory and practice. A secondary thesis of the book is that psychiatrists have used these phenomena as predictors and markers in the practical matters of preventing insane homicide and of testifying in the courts to defend the irresponsible and expose the culpable.
For 200 years, scientific and philosophical disagreement raised controversy and brought the issues to public attention. Still, to this day no rational method exists to discriminate the dangerous from the harmless in matters of involuntary commitment, nor insanity from crime in the courts.
Mark S MICALE Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress RC532.M533 2008 | Dewey Decimal 616.85240081
Over the course of several centuries, Western masculinity has successfully established itself as the voice of reason, knowledge, and sanity - he basis for patriarchal rule - in the face of massive testimony to the contrary. This book boldly challenges this triumphant vision of the stable and secure male by examining the central role played by modern science and medicine in constructing and sustaining it.
As anyone who has watched television in recent years can attest, we live in the age of Viagra. From Bob Dole to Mike Ditka to late-night comedians, our culture has been engaged in one long, frank, and very public talk about impotence—and our newfound pharmaceutical solutions. But as Angus McLaren shows us in Impotence, the first cultural history of the subject, the failure of men to rise to the occasion has been a recurrent topic since the dawn of human culture.
Drawing on a dazzling range of sources from across centuries, McLaren demonstrates how male sexuality was constructed around the idea of potency, from times past when it was essential for the purpose of siring children, to today, when successful sex is viewed as a component of a healthy emotional life. Along the way, Impotence enlightens and fascinates with tales of sexual failure and its remedies—for example, had Ditka lived in ancient Mesopotamia, he might have recited spells while eating roots and plants rather than pills—and explanations, which over the years have included witchcraft, shell-shock, masturbation, feminism, and the Oedipal complex. McLaren also explores the surprising political and social effects of impotence, from the revolutionary unrest fueled by Louis XVI’s failure to consummate his marriage to the boost given the fledgling American republic by George Washington’s failure to found a dynasty. Each age, McLaren shows, turns impotence to its own purposes, using it to help define what is normal and healthy for men, their relationships, and society.
From marraige manuals to metrosexuals, from Renaissance Italy to Hollywood movies, Impotence is a serious but highly entertaining examination of a problem that humanity has simultaneously regarded as life’s greatest tragedy and its greatest joke.
In Pursuit of the Gene
James Schwartz Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress QH428.S24 2008 | Dewey Decimal 576.509
Schwartz presents the history of genetics through the eyes of a dozen or so central players, beginning with Charles Darwin and ending with Nobel laureate Hermann J. Muller. This book offers readers the background they need to understand the latest findings in genetics and those still to come in the search for the genetic basis of complex diseases and traits.
Few large institutions have changed as fully and dramatically as the U.S. healthcare system since World War II. Compared to the 1930s, healthcare now incorporates a variety of new technologies, service-delivery arrangements, financing mechanisms, and underlying sets of organizing principles.
This book examines the transformations that have occurred in medical care systems in the San Francisco Bay area since 1945. The authors describe these changes in detail and relate them to both the sociodemographic trends in the Bay Area and to shifts in regulatory systems and policy environments at local, state, and national levels. But this is more than a social history; the authors employ a variety of theoretical perspectives—including strategic management, population ecology, and institutional theory—to examine five types of healthcare organizations through quantitative data analysis and illustrative case studies.
Providing a thorough account of changes for one of the nation's leading metropolitan areas in health service innovation, this book is a landmark in the theory of organizations and in the history of healthcare systems.
Making Medical Doctors is not a conventional institutional history, but rather a study of the union of science and medicine in a particularly illustrative institutional setting. Its genral subject is the institution where science and medicine most dramatically came together: the modern medical school and medical center. Its particular subject is the medical school and center of Vanderbilt University, which was rebuilt in the 1920s as a model for medical education and research. Making Medical Doctors also explores the intellectual and financial sources of institutional development: the worlds of Abraham Flexner, Frederick T. Gates, and Henry S. Pritchett, three foundation masters of the early 20th century. It examines closely the vanished medical world of that generation of doctors who reached the height of their influence in the period between the two world wars and describes how they actually did medicine, surgery, and science.
The convergence of science and medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries produced what we know today as modern medicine. The balance of power and interdependence between science and medicine have changed vastly from the 1920s and 1930s, as Vanderbilt’s story clearly illustrates.
U.S. health care has changed dramatically during the past century. A new breed of physicians use new machines, vaccines, and ideas in ways that have touched the lives of virtually everyone. How and why did these changes occur?
The biographical essays comprising this volume address this question through the stories of six scientific innovators at the University of Michigan Medical School. Michigan was the first major U.S. medical school to admit women, to run its own university hospital, and, by the turn of the century, was recognized as one of the finest medical schools in the country. The people whose stories unfold here played a central part in defining the place of medical science at the University of Michigan and in the larger world of U.S. health care.
Introductory sections are followed by biographical profiles of George Dock, Thomas Francis, Albion Hewlett, Louise Newburgh, Cyrus Strurgis, and Frank Wilson. Drawing on extensive archival research, the authors provide a richly textured portrait of academic medical life and reveal how the internal content of science and medicine interacted with the social context of each subject's life. Also explored is the relationship between the environment (the hospital, the university, and the city) and the search for knowledge.
These narratives expand our perspective on twentieth-century medical history by presenting these individuals' experiences as extended biopsies of the period and place, focal points illuminating the personal nature of medicine and locating the discipline within a social and institutional setting.
Joel D. Howell is Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of History, and Department of Health Services Management and Policy, University of Michigan.
The microscope’s technical capabilities and uses expanded dramatically in the early nineteenth century, when it emerged as an important tool for medical education and played a key role in the development of the cell theory, among other advancements. Focusing on the decades surrounding this crucial period, Jutta Schickore weaves a fascinating story of microscopy by tracing the entwined history of the eye and the optical instrument.
Concentrating on Great Britain and the German lands—home to the period’s most significant developments in microscopy—The Microscope and the Eye examines debates about such subjects as the legitimacy of human trespassing on the microcosm and the nature of light. Schickore also explores the microscope’s role in investigations of the finer structure of the eye and the workings of nerve fibers and the microscopists’ reflections on vision, illusion, artifacts, and the merits of instruments. Fully considering the epistemological, metaphysical, and methodological implications of this centuries-old relationship, The Microscope and the Eye will be an important contribution to the history of the life sciences, vision studies, and scientific methodology.
The Mind of Egypt presents an unprecedented account of the mainsprings of Egyptian civilization--the ideals, values, mentalities, belief systems, and aspirations that shaped the first territorial state in human history. Drawing on a range of literary, iconographic, and archaeological sources, the renowned historian Jan Assmann reconstructs a world of unparalleled complexity, a culture that, long before others, possessed an extraordinary degree of awareness and self-reflection.
Reviews of this book: Magnificent' Assmann asks what meaning Egyptians obtained from their own constructions of their history. How did they incorporate the legacy of the past into the present. Using three approaches - archeological, mythic, and epigraphic or iconographic - Assmann takes us a chronological journey, starting with the formation of the unified state in about 3100 BC and going through the three great kingdoms. He ends in the late period with the final whimpers of Egyptian civilization. Assmann has looked closely into the mirror of the ancient intangible with telling effect. Every student of early civilization has something to learn from these pages, which will help cure us of intellectual myopia. --Brian Fagan, The Los Angeles Times
Reviews of this book: Assmann is attempting something far more ambitious than all the conventional books on Egypt. What he attempts to do is pen a psychological portrait of Egyptian culture. He asks questions that are normally avoided by ancient historians: What motivated the culture? How did it view the relationship between the individual and the universe surrounding him or her? What explanations did it provide for worldly events and reversals of fortune? The result is impressive. The Mind of Egypt marks the culmination of years of questioning about the past and the ways it can be conceptualized. Jan Assmann is close in some ways to being the Beethoven of Egyptology. The Mind of Egypt is a singular book that will provoke debate for a generation to come. It is essential reading for those who wish to call themselves Egyptologists, and it is an important intellectual contribution to the whole question of what constitutes history and historiography. --John Ray, The American Scholar
Reviews of this book: [This book's] aim--to examine the mainsprings of Egyptian civilisation and thereby to provide a 'psychological' portrait of Egyptian culture--is truly fascinating. --History Today
Less than a century ago, physicians, scientists, and cultural commentators became fascinated by the endocrine glands and the effects of their secretions on our bodies and minds. Of all the characteristics supposed to be governed by them, the attributes of sex evoked the wildest interest. The gonads, it was revealed, secreted chemicals that not only influenced the biological expressions of sex, but seemed to generate the vitality and energy that made life worth living.
Through a series of case studies drawn from Central Europe, the United States, and Britain, The Most Secret Quintessence of Life explores how the notion of sex hormones enabled scientists to remap the human body, encouraging hopes that glandular interventions could cure ills, malfunctions, and even social deviance in ways inconceivable to previous generations. Many of these dreams failed, but their history, Chandak Sengoopta shows, takes us into the very heart of scientific medicine, revealing how even its most arcane concerns are shaped by cultural preoccupations and anxieties.
In the nineteenth century, infants were commonly breast-fed; by the middle of the twentieth century, women typically bottle-fed their babies on the advice of their doctors. In this book, Rima D. Apple discloses and analyzes the complex interactions of science, medicine, economics, and culture that underlie this dramatic shift in infant-care practices and women’s lives.
As infant feeding became the keystone of the emerging specialty of pediatrics in the twentieth century, the manufacture of infant food became a lucrative industry. More and more mothers reported difficulty in nursing their babies. While physicians were establishing themselves and the scientific experts and the infant-food industry was hawking the scientific bases of their products, women embraced “scientific motherhood,” believing that science could shape child care practices. The commercialization and medicalization of infant care established an environment that made bottle feeding not only less feared by many mothers, but indeed “natural” and “necessary.” Focusing on the history of infant feeding, this book clarifies the major elements involved in the complex and sometimes contradictory interaction between women and the medical profession, revealing much about the changing roles of mothers and physicians in American society.
“The strength of Apple’s book is her ability to indicate how the mutual interests of mothers, doctors, and manufacturers led to the transformation of infant feeding. . . . Historians of science will be impressed with the way she probes the connections between the medical profession and the manufacturers and with her ability to demonstrate how medical theories were translated into medical practice.”—Janet Golden, Isis
Part cultural history, part sociological critique, and part literary performance, Panic Diaries explores the technological and social construction of individual and collective panic. Jackie Orr looks at instances of panic and its “cures” in the twentieth-century United States: from the mass hysteria following the 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds to an individual woman swallowing a pill to control the “panic disorder” officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. Against a backdrop of Cold War anxieties over atomic attack, Orr highlights the entanglements of knowledge and power in efforts to reconceive panic and its prevention as problems in communication and information feedback. Throughout, she reveals the shifting techniques of power and social engineering underlying the ways that scientific and social scientific discourses—including crowd psychology, Cold War cybernetics, and contemporary psychiatry—have rendered panic an object of technoscientific management.
Orr, who has experienced panic attacks herself, kept a diary of her participation as a research subject in clinical trials for the Upjohn Company’s anti-anxiety drug Xanax. This “panic diary” grounds her study and suggests the complexity of her desire to track the diffusion and regulation of panic in U.S. society. Orr’s historical research, theoretical reflections, and biographical narrative combine in this remarkable and compelling genealogy, which documents the manipulation of panic by the media, the social sciences and psychiatry, the U.S. military and government, and transnational drug companies.
Poor People’s Medicine is a detailed history of Medicaid since its beginning in 1965. Federally aided and state-operated, Medicaid is the single most important source of medical care for the poorest citizens of the United States. From acute hospitalization to long-term nursing-home care, the nation’s Medicaid programs pay virtually the entire cost of physician treatment, medical equipment, and prescription pharmaceuticals for the millions of Americans who fall within government-mandated eligibility guidelines. The product of four decades of contention over the role of government in the provision of health care, some of today’s Medicaid programs are equal to private health plans in offering coordinated, high-quality medical care, while others offer little more than bare-bones coverage to their impoverished beneficiaries.
Starting with a brief overview of the history of charity medical care, Jonathan Engel presents the debates surrounding Medicaid’s creation and the compromises struck to allow federal funding of the nascent programs. He traces the development of Medicaid through the decades, as various states attempted to both enlarge the programs and more finely tailor them to their intended targets. At the same time, he describes how these new programs affected existing institutions and initiatives such as public hospitals, community clinics, and private pro bono clinical efforts. Along the way, Engel recounts the many political battles waged over Medicaid, particularly in relation to larger discussions about comprehensive health care and social welfare reform. Poor People’s Medicine is an invaluable resource for understanding the evolution and present state of programs to deliver health care to America’s poor.
A North Carolina woman dies of a flesh-eating bacterial disease. Thousands of people in West Africa are suffering from cholera. And antibiotics are rapidly becoming less and less effective at fighting what were once mild infections. The biggest threat to the future of human society may not be terrorist attacks or nuclear war, but rather microscopic bacteria. Immunologist Norbert Gualde explains in Resistance the dangers we face from bacterial resistance, asserting that we must confront the reality awaiting us--the next fatal plague may occur sooner than we think.
Over the course of the twentieth century, incredible advances in medicine inspired a utopian belief among many that all common infectious diseases would eventually be eradicated. But Resistance shows that this dream is an impossible one. The book’s riveting narrative reveals how new infectious agents and diseases are being discovered every day and how bacteria previously thought to have been destroyed are returning with a vengeance. Drawing upon the history of past epidemics, Gualde explores how new outbreaks might be predicted and controlled. He also investigates the potentially devastating social and political impact of such public health disasters, particularly in underdeveloped countries in the southern hemisphere. He ultimately argues that the constant interaction between man and microorganisms will inevitably catalyze future epidemics similar to the horrific ones of centuries past.
Global outbreak monitoring and medical research on the human body’s immune system are beginning to produce effective strategies against bacterial resistance. But the most important weapon is awareness of the crisis, and this engrossing and brilliantly translated study will serve as a wake-up call for us all.
How do scientists persuade colleagues from diverse fields to cross the disciplinary divide, risking their careers in new interdisciplinary research programs? Why do some attempts to inspire such research win widespread acclaim and support, while others do not?
In Shaping Science with Rhetoric, Leah Ceccarelli addresses such questions through close readings of three scientific monographs in their historical contexts—Theodosius Dobzhansky's Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937), which inspired the "modern synthesis" of evolutionary biology; Erwin Schrödinger's What Is Life? (1944), which catalyzed the field of molecular biology; and Edward O. Wilson's Consilience (1998), a so far not entirely successful attempt to unite the social and biological sciences. She examines the rhetorical strategies used in each book and evaluates which worked best, based on the reviews and scientific papers that followed in their wake.
Ceccarelli's work will be important for anyone interested in how interdisciplinary fields are formed, from historians and rhetoricians of science to scientists themselves.
Before 1980, sick building syndrome did not exist. By the 1990s, it was among the most commonly investigated occupational health problems in the United States. Afflicted by headaches, rashes, and immune system disorders, office workers—mostly women—protested that their workplaces were filled with toxic hazards; yet federal investigators could detect no chemical cause. This richly detailed history tells the story of how sick building syndrome came into being: how indoor exposures to chemicals wafting from synthetic carpet, ink, adhesive, solvents, and so on became something that relatively privileged Americans worried over, felt, and ultimately sought to do something about. As Michelle Murphy shows, sick building syndrome provides a window into how environmental politics moved indoors.
Sick building syndrome embodied a politics of uncertainty that continues to characterize contemporary American environmental debates. Michelle Murphy explores the production of uncertainty by juxtaposing multiple histories, each of which explains how an expert or lay tradition made chemical exposures perceptible or imperceptible, existent or nonexistent. She shows how uncertainty emerged from a complex confluence of feminist activism, office worker protests, ventilation engineering, toxicology, popular epidemiology, corporate science, and ecology. In an illuminating case study, she reflects on EPA scientists’ efforts to have their headquarters recognized as a sick building. Murphy brings all of these histories together in what is not only a thorough account of an environmental health problem but also a much deeper exploration of the relationship between history, materiality, and uncertainty.
In the 1990s a disturbing trend emerged in psychotherapy: patients began accusing their parents and other close relatives of sexual abuse, as a result of false “recovered memories” urged onto them by therapists practicing new methods of treatment. The subsequent loss of public confidence in psychotherapy was devastating to psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, and with Try to Remember, he looks at what went wrong and describes what must be done to restore psychotherapy to a more honored and useful place in therapeutic treatment.
In this thought-provoking account, McHugh explains why trendy diagnoses and misguided treatments have repeatedly taken over psychotherapy. He recounts his participation in court battles that erupted over diagnoses of recovered memories and the frequent companion diagnoses of multiple-personality disorders. He also warns that diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder today may be perpetuating a similar misdirection, thus exacerbating the patients’ suffering. He argues that both the public and psychiatric professionals must raise their standards for psychotherapy, in order to ensure that the incorrect designation of memory as the root cause of disorders does not occur again. Psychotherapy, McHugh ultimately shows, is a valuable healing method—and at the very least an important adjunct treatment—to the numerous psychopharmaceuticals that flood the drug market today.
An urgent call to arms for patients and therapists alike, Try to Remember delineates the difference between good and bad psychiatry and challenges us to reconsider psychotherapy as the most effective way to heal troubled minds.
Unequal Cures illuminates the connections between public health and political change in Bolivia from the beginning of the twentieth century, when the country was a political oligarchy, until the eve of the 1952 national revolution that ushered in universal suffrage, agrarian reform, and the nationalization of Bolivia’s tin mines. Ann Zulawski examines both how the period’s major ideological and social transformations changed medical thinking and how ideas of public health figured in debates about what kind of country Bolivia should become. Zulawski argues that the emerging populist politics of the 1930s and 1940s helped consolidate Bolivia’s medical profession and that improved public health was essential to the creation of a modern state. Yet she finds that at mid-century, women, indigenous Bolivians, and the poor were still considered inferior and consequently received often inadequate medical treatment and lower levels of medical care.
Drawing on hospital and cemetery records, censuses, diagnoses, newspaper accounts, and interviews, Zulawski describes the major medical problems that Bolivia faced during the first half of the twentieth century, their social and economic causes, and efforts at their amelioration. Her analysis encompasses the Rockefeller Foundation’s campaign against yellow fever, the almost total collapse of Bolivia’s health care system during the disastrous Chaco War with Paraguay (1932–35), an assessment of women’s health in light of their socioeconomic realities, and a look at Manicomio Pacheco, the national mental hospital.
This book represents the first political history of the federal government's only experiment in social medicine. Alice Sardell examines the Neighborhood, or Community Health Center Program (NHC/CHC) from its origins in 1965 as part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty campaign up until 1986. The program embodied concepts of social medicine, community development, and consumer involvement in health policy decision-making. Sardell views the NHC experiment in the context of a series of political struggles, beginning in the 1890s, over the boundaries of public and private medicine, and demonstrates that these health centers so challenged mainstream medicine that they could only be funded as a program limited to the poor.