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India and the Patent Wars: Pharmaceuticals in the New Intellectual Property Regime

India and the Patent Wars is a timely examination of a critical issue in global health: the recent transformation of global property regimes governing the ownership and manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Its key guiding question is how a diverse set of actors—including national governments, drug corporations across the United States and India, health activists, and Ayurvedic […]

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A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples

The moral and political tone of Randall Packard’s magisterial history of global health is set from the start with its subtitle: “interventions into the lives of other peoples.” Time and time again, this history shows us, health interventions have failed because they were designed at some remove from where they were intended to have effect. […]

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Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform

Medicine and Memory in Tibet offers “the first full-length ethnography of Tibetan medical practitioners in central Tibet working outside the well-documented Tibetan medical institutions in Lhasa” (p. 2). Theresia Hofer recounts and analyzes the narratives of amchi (am chi) living and working in rural Tsang—now under Shigatse Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region—and their struggles […]

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The Anthropology of the Fetus: Biology, Culture, and Society

In her foreword to The Anthropology of the Fetus, Rayna Rapp does not mince words. She writes, “the fetus and its centrality to any story of human origins are now front and center in our life sciences, our bioengineering market economies, and—of course—in our reproductive politics” (p. xiv). In their introduction, Sallie Han, Tracy K. […]

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Universalism without Uniformity: Explorations in Mind & Culture

Universalism without Uniformity is a powerful homage to Richard A. Shweder’s generative work in cultural psychology. At the volume’s center is one of Shweder’s enduring mantras and intellectual commitments, “universalism without uniformity.” This entails several other foundational principles that trace their lineage, as do the volume’s contributors, to John and Beatrice Whiting’s mid-20th-century interdisciplinary, psychological […]

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Traces of the Future: An Archaeology of Medical Science in Africa

This book is a work of art as much as it is a historical or anthropological narrative. It is an enactment (sometimes a re-enactment), a provocation, and an invitation. The layout of text and images on the oversized pages of thick paper make reading itself a sensual experience. The authors’ attention to the senses involved […]

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Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century?

In the last decade, a growing number of researchers have investigated data-intensive, post-genomic science, examining how sociotechnical changes have affected the politics and practices of biomedicine. In Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century?, Barbara Prainsack draws on her experiences leading a cross-disciplinary effort around personalized medicine with the European Science Foundation, to examine […]

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Old & Sick in America: The Journey through the Health Care System

Aging, I often tell my students, is changing the world. Never before has such a large proportion of people lived so long. At the same time our social worlds, and especially the social world of medicine, is changing experiences and meanings of both aging and dying. Muriel R. Gillick’s Old and Sick in America: The […]

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Not Quite a Cancer Vaccine: Selling HPV and Cervical Cancer

S. D. Gottlieb’s title, which indexes uncertainty (“not quite a cancer vaccine”), accurately describes the book’s attention to the fraught public responses to international pharmaceutical company Merck’s marketing of Gardasil in the United States. The vaccine prevents recipients from contracting certain strains of human papilloma virus (HPV), which most notably leads to cervical cancer but […]

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Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran

Orkideh Behrouzan’s Prozak Diaries provides an ethnographically rich and theoretically embedded entry into the ever-shifting post-revolutionary Iranian milieu. The book draws on the experiences and memories of the generation of Iranians born around or after the 1979 Revolution, who survived the Iran–Iraq War and the sociopolitical suppression of the 1980s. Behrouzan relates their struggles to […]

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