Upcoming talk at Swarthmore College

April 5, 2018 – 4:15pm

Hosted by Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, PA. Talk will be in Kohlberg 115.

Sponsored by Gender & Sexuality Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, the Health & Societies Program at the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, and German Studies

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Podcast: Not Quite a Cancer Vaccine: Selling HPV and Cervical Cancer

Host Brian P. McDonough, MD, FAAFP

Samantha Gottlieb traces the medical, social, and political controversies in the ten years following the HPV vaccine’s launch.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection remains one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in both females and males, with about 9 in 10 people contracting HPV at some point in their lives.

Host Dr. Brian McDonough is joined by Samantha Gottlieb, medical anthropologist and author of Not Quite a Cancer Vaccine: Selling HPV and Cervical Cancer.  They explore the history of Gardasil, a vaccine developed for HPV but marketed primarily as a cervical cancer vaccine, which became embroiled in sociopolitical debates about adolescent sexuality and pediatric vaccinations.

The two discuss these precedents alongside current controversies, such as whether vaccinating both males and females will induce herd immunity, and if the benefits outweigh the risks.


The Sensored Female Body. Monitoring the Self: Negotiating Technologies of Health, Identity, and Governance

Helsinki, Finland.

November 8-10, 2017.

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I examine how type 1 diabetes (T1D) open source hackers (OS/H) simultaneously manage their condition as compliant patients and as disruptive citizens, challenging standards for healthcare management and legal and regulatory processes. Diabetes demands constant self-monitoring, and as a result, those diagnosed exemplify the ultimate quantifying selves; unlike the quantified self (QS) consumer-movement marketed with stylized tracking devices, as one STS scholar has noted, nirvana for self-trackers is a daily hell for those managing T1D (Mialet 2015, personal communication). Resisting U.S. models of health privatization and commodification, some members of T1D OS/H communities frame their work as a public good. These patients position themselves as citizens, consumers, and owners of their health data, data deeply embodied and lived. But as corporations expand into the closed-loop holy grail, the boundaries between patient advocacy and corporate strategy grow ambiguous.