4S 2015: Sessions on Biomedicine, the Body, and Knowledge

Last year, we featured blog posts that highlighted paper sessions on various topics in medical anthropology and social medicine presented at the annual AAA (American Anthropological Association) meeting in Washington, DC. This year, we are heralding in conference season by featuring details on two upcoming events: the AAA meeting and the annual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). Both conferences will be held in November 2015 in Denver, CO. You can find out more about the AAA Meeting here (http://www.aaanet.org/meetings/) and the 4S Meeting here (http://www.4sonline.org/meeting.)

Logo of 4S via the organization's website

Logo of 4S via the organization’s website

The 4S organization brings together researchers whose works span all aspects of scientific research, production, and the impact of science on society. Despite the organization’s breadth of represented interests, many scholars of social medicine take a science and technology studies (STS) approach and are active in 4S. This week, we highlight sessions at the 4S Meeting that emphasize their research and paper sessions on biomedicine. Sessions are organized chronologically by date and time.


Sex and Gender in Biomedicine

Thursday, November 12th 8:30-10:00am

Click here for details on this session.

This session will feature three presentations on sex and gender in biomedicine focused on the following topics: cosmetic surgery in South Korea and the United States, the history of biological sex as defined by the sciences, and the role of a parasite transmitted through sex on the reproductive lives of humans. The papers propose new understandings of sex and gender as constructed through scientific knowledge and practice.

Examining the Exceptional: Case Studies of Knowledge Production in Biomedicine and Science

Thursday, November 12th 10:30am-12:00pm

Click here for details on this session.

Topics in this session will address: microevolution and genetic science on indigenous men in Brazil; the definition of crisis in emergency medicine in the United States; sickle cell patient advocacy in Brazil; a comparative case of pregnancy monitoring in the USA and the United Kingdom; and immigrant physicians and medical professionals arriving in the United States as an “exceptional” population. These papers will offer various examples of the way that science constructs meaning for patients and practitioners of biomedicine alike.

Biomedicine and Difference

Thursday, November 12th 2:00-3:30pm

Click here for details on this session.

In this session, presenters will explore: human microbiome research; astronauts, race, and physical preparation for conditions in outer space; representations of race in a stroke awareness campaign; past technologies for measuring skin color; and the breakdown of ethnic origin by genetic percentages. These papers will scrutinize the complex and often problematic relationships between race, science, medicine, and the body.

The Body in Biomedical Knowledge

Friday, November 13th 4:00-5:30pm

Click here for details on this session.

This session will address the following topics: food insecurity, the use of inmates as test subjects, obesity, and anatomical and physiological representations in 20th century Chinese medicine. The session will also feature the work of our blog editor, Julia Knopes, on the ontological status of cadavers as objects in Western medical traditions.

Replaceable Parts: Prosthetic Technologies in Biomedicine 

Saturday, November 14th 10:30am-12:00pm

Click here for details on this session.

Presenters in this session will speak about new surgical robots, the role of prosthetic limbs amongst wounded military veterans, cross-cultural readings of prosthetic making in Canada and Uganda, 3D organ printing and facial transplants, and the experiences of amputees in an ever-changing landscape of prosthetic and bionic technologies. The sessions in this paper panel will offer fresh perspectives on the meaning of the cyborg, a continued area of interest for many medical anthropologists and researchers in social medicine.

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