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Mobile Subjects: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment

Muriel Vernon Aren Aizura’s Mobile Subjects explores the central trope of mobility in dominant narratives of gender transitions. Notions of mobility shape both macro-medical processes of global transgender health care and accounts of individual “journeys” of self-transformation. Framing his analytical work as “provincializing” the transnational flows that make transgenderism and gender reassignment culturally intelligible, Aizura […]

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Good Quality: The Routinization of Sperm Banking in China

Rapid advancements in assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have created new possibilities for family formation. A plethora of anthropological studies have revealed the ways in which ARTs have redefined kinship relations, stratified access to ARTs, and ethical concerns that arise in complex socioeconomic, cultural, political, religious, legal, and moral contexts. Little is known, however, about assisted […]

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Fistula Politics: Birthing Injuries and the Quest for Continence in Niger

Siri Suh Every year, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 women around the world develop obstetric fistula, a birthing complication that causes fecal and/or urinary incontinence through the vagina following prolonged labor. Obstetric fistula is entirely preventable through timely access to appropriate obstetric care. In 2003, the United Nations Population Fund and its partners launched the […]

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Life without Lead: Contamination, Crisis, and Hope in Uruguay

Human beings have recognized the embodied effects of lead exposure for centuries, even if those effects were not always medicalized. As Daniel Renfrew explains in the introduction to Life without Lead, this ancient substance was “reinvented and transformed” in the industrial age, working its way into paints, fuels, household products, and pipes (p. 4). In […]

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Others’ Milk: The Potential of Exceptional Breastfeeding

Susan Falls Kristin Wilson’s well-conceived ethnography, Others’ Milk, shows how exceptional breastfeeding casts hegemonic cultural categories into relief. The book illustrates the multiple ways in which transgressing norms about breastfeeding can work to change those categories. Others’ Milk is thus a work of scholarship on breastfeeding as much as it is an act of activist […]

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Faith and the Pursuit of Health: Cardiometabolic Disorders in Samoa

Faith and the Pursuit of Health explores how Pentecostal Christians in Samoa co-conceive religious practice and healing of metabolic disorders, principally Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. These have become endemic among the island nation’s population in the last few decades. The book proposes that Pentecostalism provides a culturally acceptable frame of belief and action that […]

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The Riddle of Malnutrition: The Long Arc of Biomedical and Public Health Interventions in Uganda

Through field and archival research into Uganda’s long history of nutrition work, Jennifer Tappan has pieced together an ethnographic account of how perspectives and practices regarding severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have evolved over time. After considering Uganda’s recent history, its health initiatives, and their outcomes, Tappan arrives at the important conclusion that future efforts in […]

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Breathtaking: Asthma Care in a Time of Climate Change

Breathtaking, Alison Kenner’s ethnography of asthmatic attunement and care, begins in scenes of seizing breath, drawn together in the near miss of two storms. In a meticulously cleaned Philadelphia apartment, the ethnographer listens to Jess breathing through a nighttime asthma attack, forcing body through a “self-designed breathing ritual” (p. 2), and tuning into and against […]

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Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post‐Soviet Clinic

Eugene Raikhel’s insightful ethnography of alcoholism and its treatment regimes, Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic, tracks the intellectual genealogies and institutional expressions of narcology, as the medical discipline that deals with substance addiction is labeled in present-day Russia. Based on participant observation at a variety of therapeutic sites, interviews with patients and […]

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Unbound: Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity

Unbound opens in a waiting room in South Florida, where Ben, a young transgender man, anxiously awaits his turn to see the plastic surgeon who will masculinize his chest. Readers visit this waiting room time and again throughout the book. Collapsing physical space with the emotionally charged moment just before life-altering surgery, the waiting room […]

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