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Medicalising Identity


There are many (MANY) ways to explore the intersections between medicine-- especially biomedicine-- and identity. Below, you'll find a mere sliver of these. You'll see that there are texts from the social studies of science, from medical anthropology, social policy and history (early modern as well as modern). I have noted [*] a couple that are particularly good for looking at the 'medical humanities' as well. You can approach this very broad topic in a number of ways: below, I've tried to group readings by analytical focus (that is, race, class, gender, etc). Of course, period is another useful tool: you could focus on one (probably longish) moment in time -- say, 'the age of empire' --and look across the range of analytical lenses or social/political/cultural strucures. Finally, you might want to explore a particular disciplinary approach, or to sample the ways in which different disiplines assess this congested intersection. If you have a particular topic or lens in mind, drop me a line and I'll see what I can find... Read as much as you can and think about the following:

1. Where, when and how have medicine and identity intersected?

2. What KINDS of identity, sites, bodies, and situations attract medical attention, surveillance, and colonisation?

3. What does looking at identities through a biomedical lens add to our understandings of, e.g. gender, race, class, etc.?

4. Think too about what is MISSING from these discourses and literatures -- spaces, geographies, periods, peoples. Then have a look on JSTOR and Project Muse to see if these absences are just artifacts of the lists below, or genuine historiographical gaps.

Readings:

First read this, on 'Biologism':

*David Skinner, 'Racialized Futures: Biologism and the Changing Politices of Identity', Social Studies of Science, Vol 36, No. 3 (2006), 459-488.

Then choose from the below, according to your own interests.

Criminal Identities

*Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia (Oxford: Berg, 2004) (esp. Chapter 5 ‘Voir/Savoir: Photographing, measuring and fingerprinting the Indian Criminal’) e-book

Simon Cole, ‘What Counts for Identity? The Historical Origins of the methodology of Latent Fingerprint Identification', Science in Context, 12 (1993):139-172.

Arthur Daemmrich, ‘The Evidence Does Not Speak for Itself: Expert Witnesses and the Organization of DNA-Typing Companies’, Social Studies of Science, Oct 1998; vol. 28: pp. 741-772.

Michael Lynch, Sheila Jasanoff, ‘Contested Identities: Science, Law and Forensic Practice’, Social Studies of Science, Oct 1998; vol. 28: pp. 675-686.

Racial Identities

Jacqueline Nassy Brown, ‘The Racial State of the Everyday and the Making of Ethnic Statistics in Britain’, Social Text, 27 (2009), 11-36.

*Simon Cole, ‘Twins, Twain, Galton and Gilman: Fingerprinting, Individualization, Brotherhood and Race in Pudd’nhead Wilson’, Configuations 15: 3 (Fall 2007): 227-265.

Troy Duster, ‘The Molecular Reinscription of Race: Unanticipated Issues in Biotechnology and Forensic Science’, Patterns of Prejudice 40 (2006.): 427-441

David Jones, 'How Personalized Medicine Became Genetic, and Racial: Werner Kalow and the Formations of Pharmacogenetics', Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 68 (2013): 1-48.

*Amâde M’charek, ‘Technologies of Population: Forensic DNA Testing Practices and the Making of Differences and Similarities’, Configurations, 8 (2000): 121–158 [if you find this hard to access, try Research Pro]

*Heather Winlow, 'Mapping Moral Geographies: W. Z. Ripley's Races of Europe and the United States', Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 96, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 119-141

Paper Identities

Jacqueline Nassy Brown, ‘The Racial State of the Everyday and the Making of Ethnic Statistics in Britain’, Social Text, 27 (2009), 11-36.

Marc Garcelon, ‘Colonizing the Subject: the Genealogy and Legacy of the Soviet Internal Passport’, in Jane Caplan and John Torpey (eds), Documenting Individual Identity The Development of State Practices since the French Revolution (Princeton: PUP, 2001): 83-100.

Valentin Groebner, ‘Describing the Person, Reading the Signs in Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Identity Papers, Vested Figures, and the Limits of Identification, 1400-1600’, in Jane Caplan and John Torpey (eds), Documenting Individual Identity The Development of State Practices since the French Revolution (Princeton: PUP, 2001): 15-27.

David Lyon, ‘Under my skin: from Identification papers to body surveillance’ in Jane Caplan and John Torpey (eds), Documenting Individual Identity The Development of State Practices since the French Revolution (Princeton: PUP, 2001): 291-310.

Colonial Identities (and see Anderson, Garcelon, above)

Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia (Oxford: Berg, 2004) (esp. Chapter 5 ‘Voir/Savoir: Photographing, measuring and fingerprinting the Indian Criminal’) e-book

Rosa Medina-Domenech, ‘Scientific Technologies of National Identity as Colonial Legacies: Extracting the Spanish Nation from Equatorial Guinea’, Social Studies of Scientific Knowledge 39/1 (February 2009):81-112

Radhika Singha, ‘Settle, mobilize, verify: Identification practices in colonial India’, Studies in History, NS 15 (2000):151-98.

Gendered (and medicated) Identities

Beth Bailey ‘Prescribing the Pill: Politics, Culture, and the Sexual Revolution in America's Heartland’, Journal of Social History, Vol. 30, No. 4 (Summer, 1997), pp. 827-856.

Linda M. Blum and Nena F. Stracuzzi, 'Gender in the Prozac Nation: Popular Discourse and Productive Femininity', Gender and Society, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jun., 2004), pp. 269-286.

Simone M. Caron, ‘Birth Control and the Black Community in the 1960s: Genocide or Power Politics?’, Journal of Social History, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Spring, 1998), pp. 545-569.

*Abigail Cheever, 'Prozac Americans: Depression, Identity, and Selfhood', Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 346-368

Jennifer R. Fishman, 'Manufacturing Desire: The Commodification of Female Sexual Dysfunction', Social Studies of Science Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 2004), pp. 187-218.

David Herzberg, '"The Pill You Love Can Turn on You": Feminism, Tranquilizers, and the Valium Panic of the 1970s', American Quarterly
Vol. 58, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 79-103.

Amy Kaler, ‘A Threat to the Nation and a Threat to the Men: The Banning of Depo-Provera in Zimbabwe, 1981’, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 347-376.
Jessika van Kammen, ‘Representing Users' Bodies: The Gendered Development of Anti-Fertility Vaccines’, Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Summer, 1999), pp. 307-337.

Sasha Claire McInnes, 'The Political Is Personal: or Why Have a Revolution When You Could Be Medicated', Off Our Backs
Vol. 30, No. 4 (April 2000), pp. 10-12.

Marcia Meldrum, ‘“Simple Methods" and "Determined Contraceptors": The Statistical Evaluation of Fertility Control, 1957-1968’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol. 70, Number 2, Summer 1996, pp. 266-295.

Jonathan Michel Metzl, Prozac on the Couch: Prescribing Gender in the Era of Wonder Drugs (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003).

Nelly Oudshoorn, ‘On Masculinities, Technologies, and Pain: The Testing of Male Contraceptives in the Clinic and the Media’, Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring, 1999), pp. 265-289.

L. L. Wynn and James Trussell, 'The Social Life of Emergency Contraception in the United States: Disciplining Pharmaceutical Use, Disciplining Sexuality, and Constructing Zygotic Bodies', Medical Anthropology Quarterly New Series, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 297-320