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Book Forum: Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes

Last summer, popular science writer Ed Yong published his book on the microbiome to great acclaim. The book, I Contain Multitudes: the Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, became a bestseller and showed up on countless “Best of” book lists for 2016. Since many medical anthropologists work on topics that either touch upon […]

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Multitudes without Politics

by Matthew Wolf-Meyer Microbial science may be the new solutionism in science and medicine. It’s hard not to see the last several years of hullaballoo over the microbiome as not an extension of scientific panacea-seeking from the late 20th and early 21st centuries: first cracking and cataloging the genome would solve all our health problems, […]

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Why Liberals Love the Microbiome

by Jamie Lorimer Ed Yong has written a lovely book. He takes us into the new science of the microbiome, introducing the key ideas and the central players. His writing is clear, compelling and self-effacing. His enthusiasm for his subject and his characters is infectious. His book has been well received; achieving bestseller status, rave […]

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Can Microbes Give Gifts?

by Alex Nading I find it ironic that theory, which is the epitome of cooperation and togetherness, can deeply divide people who spend their entire time thinking about cooperation and togetherness. – Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes Shortly after I finished reading I Contain Multitudes, I attended an interdisciplinary meeting of microbiome ecologists, evolutionary biologists, […]

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Writing the Microbiome

by Amber Benezra Imagine that you really like ice cream. You like it so much that you spend years learning about it—you become an expert on ice cream ingredients and how they chemically combine, you do fieldwork in ice creameries, living with, working with, and intensively studying ice cream makers, you taste and love every […]

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Radiating Microbes and Fuzzy Anthropologies

by Erin Koch As humans in our household, my wife and I are collectively outnumbered as a species by dogs, cats, and an aquatic turtle. I write from my home office in the company of one of our pups. She is tired from morning walks, eating neighborhood flora and soils, and monitoring our backyard for […]

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The “Anecdote” Insult, or, Why Health Policy Needs Stories

by Jessica Mulligan and Emily K. Brunson Sharon asked to be interviewed at a gas station restaurant. It was close to her home so the trip burned minimal gas. And, it had air conditioning. In the middle of a Texas summer she had forgone paying her electric bills in order to purchase refills of the medications she […]

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The Society for Medical Anthropology’s Letter to President Trump on the ACA

February 16, 2017 Dear President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Secretary Tom Price, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader-Elect Charles Schumer, and Representative Kevin Brady: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has prevented thousands of U.S. citizens from experiencing financial ruin due to medical costs […]

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The future of trans- medicine under Trump

by Eric Plemons   On the morning of November 8, I assuaged my Election Day anxieties by working on a small grant application that a mentor had suggested she could put in front of some friendly funders. For months I had been developing a project examining how US institutions are responding to a growing demand […]

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Incarcerated women, anthropology, and Trump

by Carolyn Sufrin, MD, PhD “My worst day in jail is better than my best day on the streets.”   This is a phrase that Kima, a woman I came to know while doing fieldwork and practicing medicine in jail, said to me a number of times. Kima’s declaration reflects an unsettling reality, which I describe […]

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