The Stakes for Immigration and Mental Health

by Allison Bloom As we sat in the back office of a crisis center, Rosa recounted her darkest moment. An immigrant from Ecuador working a low-wage job, Rosa was facing seemingly insurmountable abuse from her husband. With few language skills, resources, or support, she had contemplated suicide as her only means of escape. Yet as […]

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Competing Agendas: Health Insurance Reform and Precision Medicine

By Emily Hammad Mrig When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Christy was suddenly confronted with numerous decisions about what to do next. Among the many decisions she had to make, Christy had to choose between a breast conserving surgery or a more invasive bilateral mastectomy to remove the cancerous tissue. Fearing a future cancer […]

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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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Special Series: Sensorial Engagements with a Toxic World

Curated by Chisato Fukuda, University of Wisconsin-Madison We dwell in an atmosphere of uncertainty. From visible ambient matters like smog to odorless contaminants from radiation, toxic conditions force us to continually adapt to, resist, and make sense of the spaces we inhabit. Bodies are exposed to an array of materials, from particulates, chemicals, and pathogens that […]

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The Incinerator Does Not Exist: Sensory Engagement with Toxic Potentials

By Chloe Ahmann, George Washington University On the streets of Curtis Bay, a community in south Baltimore, talk of the local trash incinerator is pervasive. People complain about its pungent odor, lament its effects on air quality, and worry about its ties to respiratory ailments. Amidst an already congested industrial landscape, where the cumulative effects of […]

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