Participants

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Tatiana Chudakova

Tufts University
My first book project focused on how postsocialist economies of health are shaped through the cultural politics of indigenous knowledge, the remaking of ethnoecologies, and the commodification of ethnic identities. I combine these theoretical concerns with an interest in the afterlives of Soviet scientific and state-building projects in Russia and Inner Asia. I am currently working on a book, provisionally titled Mixing Medicines: Ecologies of Care in Buddhist Siberia, which follows Russia’s official medical sector’s attempts to reinvent itself through state-led initiatives of “medical integration” that aim to recuperate indigenous therapeutic traditions associated with the state’s ethnic and religious minorities. Based in Buryatia, a traditionally Buddhist region on the border of Russia and Mongolia known for its post-Soviet revival of “Tibetan medicine” and shamanism, the book traces the uneven terrains of encounter between indigenous healing, the state, and transnational medical flows. My current research project explores how the use of “smart drugs” reconfigures discourses and experiences of clinical, social, and work-related efficacy, as they circulate across borders and enter divergent pharmaceutical, medical, and ethical regimes between Russia and the United States. Focused on a contentious category of pharmaceuticals labeled “nootropics” – a chemically fluid taxonomic classification that encompasses a variety of synthetic and naturally-derived substances designed to enhance cognitive functions – the project interrogates what types of selves, regimes of labor, therapeutic ideologies, and temporalities of embodiment these substances help mediate and enact.
 

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Gerardo Con Diaz

University of California, Davis
Gerardo Con Diaz researches how law and policy have shaped the digital world. His first book, Software Rights, examines software patenting in the United States. His next book, on Internet copyright, is under contract with Yale University Press. In 2020-2021, Con Diaz will be a Visiting Fellow in residence at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is an Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the Editor in Chief of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. Con Diaz holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and additional degrees from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) and Harvard University.
 

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Deirdre Cooper Owens

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Deirdre Cooper Owens is the Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A popular public speaker and Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, she has published essays, book chapters, and blog pieces on a number of issues that concern African American experiences. Her first book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (UGA Press, 2017) won the 2018 Darlene Clark Hine Book Award from the OAH as the best book written in African American women’s and gender history. Professor Cooper Owens is also the Director of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest cultural institution. Currently, she is working on a second book project that examines mental illness during the era of United States slavery and is also writing a popular biography of Harriet Tubman that examines her through the lens of disability.
 

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Yulia Frumer

Johns Hopkins University
Yulia Frumer is the Bo Jung and Soon Young Kim Associate Professor of East Asian Science and Technology in the History of Science and Technology Department, Johns Hopkins University. Frumer explores technological developments in Japan from early modern period to the 21st century. Her first book, titled Making Time: Astronomical Time Measurement in Tokugawa Japan, explored changing regimes of time measurement in early modern Japan. Her current research project focuses on the long history of Japanese humanoid robotics engineering. In addition, she explores topics of scientific translations, science and technology exchange, measurement instruments, and science fiction.
 

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Jeremy Greene

Johns Hopkins University
Jeremy Greene is a practicing internist and a historian of medicine and direct the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.  His first two books, Prescribing by Numbers: Drugs and the Definition of Disease and Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine, (2007 and 2014, Johns Hopkins University Press) describe how the relationship of knowledge and practice, medical science and the pharmaceutical marketplace, and broader understandings of the relationship between medicine and public health can only be understood through understanding the complex histories of medical technologies (like pharmaceuticals) and the series of legislative, regulatory, clinical, and consumer decisions that guide their production, circulation, and consumption. His current book project, tentatively titled The Electronic Patient: Medicine and the Challenge of New Media (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press) examines how changing expectations of instantaneous communications through electric, electronic, and digital media transformed the nature of medical practice and medical knowledge. This research is focused on recapturing how seemingly mundane communications technologies have enabled and altered the production, circulation, and consumption of medical knowledge, from telegraph to text pager, telephone to telemedicine, fax machine to Facebook. The present work has been supported by a Faculty Scholars Fellowship from the Greenwall Foundation and a G13 Award from the National Library of Medicine.
 

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Benjamin Gross

Linda Hall Library
Benjamin Gross is Vice President for Research and Scholarship at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri. He is responsible for managing the Library’s scholarly outreach initiatives, including its fellowship program. Before relocating to the Midwest in 2016, he was a research fellow at the Science History Institute and consulting curator of the Sarnoff Collection at the College of New Jersey. His first book, The TVs of Tomorrow: How RCA’s Flat-Screen Dreams Led to the First LCDs, was published in 2018 by the University of Chicago Press. Gross earned a BA in history from Yale University and a PhD in the history of science from Princeton University.
 

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Mar Hicks

Illinois Institute of Technology
Mar Hicks is an author, historian, and professordoing research on the history of computing, labor, technology, and queer science and technology studies. Their research focuses on how gender and sexuality bring hidden technological dynamics to light, and how the experiences of women and LGBTQIA people change the core narratives of the history of computing in unexpected ways. Hicks’s multiple award-winning book, Programmed Inequality, looks at how the British lost their early lead in computing by discarding women computer workers, and what this cautionary tale tells us about current issues in high tech. Their new work looks at resistance and queerness in the history of technology. They also have a new co-edited book coming out in Spring 2021 from MIT Press called Your Computer Is On Fire, about how we can begin to fix our broken high tech infrastructures. Read more at marhicks.com.
 

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Elaine Leong

University College London
Elaine Leong is currently a lecturer in history at the University College London. Her research is centered upon medical and scientific knowledge transfer and production. Her award-winning first book, Recipes and Everyday Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and the Household in Early Modern England, used a range of sources such as recipe books, letters and more to bring into focus what she terms ‘household science’ – that is, quotidian investigations of the natural world – and situates these within broader conversations about gender and cultural history, the history of the book, the history of archives and the history of science, medicine and technology. She has also co-edited several books and special issues which examine the material history of science and medicine, including Working with Paper: Gendered Practices in the History of Knowledge with Christine von Oertzen and Carla Bittel. Her current project, titled Reading Rivière in Early Modern England, uses the story of Lazare Rivière’s bestselling Praxis medica/The Practice of Physick to explore reading and writing practices as processes of knowledge production, maintenance and transfer. She is also co-directing three collaborative research projects – ‘Learning by the Book: Manuals and Handbook in the History of Knowledge’, ‘Translating Medicine in the Premodern World’ and ‘Reading Early Medicine’.
 

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Caroline Lieffers

The King’s University
Caroline Lieffers is an Assistant Professor of History at King’s University in Edmonton, Canada. She completed her PhD in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University in 2020, where her dissertation examined intersections between disability and American imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She also studies food history and the history of childhood, and she is the co-host of the Disability History Association Podcast.
 

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Coreen McGuire

Durham University
Coreen McGuire is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century British History at Durham University. Her first book, Measuring Difference, Numbering Normal: Setting the standards for disability in the interwar period combines history of medicine, science and technology studies, and disability history. She won the Disability History Association prize for outstanding article in 2020 and is currently working on a co-authored book project on British scientist Dr Phyllis Kerridge’s contributions to science in Britain with Dr Jaipreet Virdi for Johns Hopkins Press.
 

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Shelley McKellar

Western University
Shelley McKellar, PhD is the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Full Professor in the Department of History at Western University. Her research focuses on the history of surgery, medical devices and the material culture of medicine. Her latest book, Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology, traces the development and clinical use of artificial hearts, from the 1950s to present day, offering an intriguing study of an imperfect technology that speaks to questions of expectations, limitations and uncertainty in a high-technology medical world. Her current project, entitled “Cutting as Cure: Objects and Stories in the History of Surgery,” is an object-centred study that explores the role of instruments and the act of cutting in shaping surgical knowledge and practice during the 19th century. She is also curator of the Medical Artifact Collection at Western University–a small research and teaching university collection–that allows her to play with amputation saws, toothkeys, bloodletting instruments and more with her students.
 

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Projit Mukharji

University of Pennsylvania
Projit Mukharji is currently an associate professor in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His first book, Nationalizing the Body, examined how the South Asian doctors and medical subordinates who were employed in the lower echelons of the colonial medical establishment in British India vernacularized ‘western’ medicine so as to meet local realities. His second book, Doctoring Traditions explored how Ayurvedic medicine modernized under colonialism, focusing on the agency and creativity of the Ayurvedic physicians of the colonial era. He is currently working on a history of human difference and race in 20th century South Asia, which touches on the histories of physical anthropology, evolutionary biology, human genetics and archeogenetics.
 

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Joseph November

University of South Carolina
Professor November teaches courses on the history of the life sciences and medicine, history of computing, modern American history, and on the ways history is presented in games.  He is particularly interested in how developments in information technology and the life sciences have shaped one another. His recent book, Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), explores the intellectual and institutional dimensions of the computerization of biology and medicine. The book surveys not only the changes computers brought to the study of life, but also the changes the life sciences brought to the development of computing. It was awarded the 2013 Computer History Museum Prize.
 

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Theodore Porter

University of California, Los Angeles
Theodore M. Porter is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He too an A.B. from Stanford in 1986 and his PhD in history / history of science from Princeton in 1981. Much of his research has involved the history of statistics, quantification, calculation, and data, often in relation to the human sciences.  His most recent book, Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity, appeared from Princeton University Press in 2018.  His other books include Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age (Princeton University Press, 2004), Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton University Press, 1995), and The Rise of Statistical Thinking (Princeton University Press, 1986).  He also credited with Dorothy Ross, The Cambridge History of Science, Volume 7: Modern Social Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 2003).  He has held fellowships h the Center Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld (Germany) in 1982-83, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 201011-11, and the Berlin Institute for Advances Study (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) in 2013-14.  He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and was elected to the American Society of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
 

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Wen Shen

University of California, San Francisco
Wen Shen is a surgeon specializing in operations of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. He treats patients at the UCSF/Mt. Zion Medical Center and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, and has previously studied the molecular biology and genetic underpinnings of various endocrine disorders. He also holds a master’s degree in the history of medicine, and has written and lectured on a multitude of topics, including the use and misuse of diethylstilbestrol (DES) for the prevention of miscarriage in the 1950s; the 1942 Cocoanut Grove Fire and its impact on burn therapy in World War II; the history of incidentally discovered adrenal tumors and their implications for surgical practice and public health; and the history and evolution of stereotypes of the “surgical personality”. He serves on the Executive Councils of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and the Pacific Coast Surgical Association; is the current Membership Chair for the Northern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons; and has been selected to be the next Historian of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association.
 

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Lee Vinsel

Virginia Tech
Lee Vinsel is an assistant professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech and a co-director of The Maintainers, a global, interdisciplinary research network focused on maintenance, repair, and the mundane work that keeps our world going. He is the author of Moving Violations, a history of automobile regulation in the United States, and co-author with Andy Russell of The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Disrupts the Work that Matters Most. His work has appeared or been covered in the New York Times, Guardian, Atlantic, Le Monde, and many other outlets around the world.
 

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Jaipreet Virdi

University of Delaware
Jaipreet Virdi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at University of Delaware whose research focuses on the ways medicine and technology impact the lived experiences of disabled people. First book, Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History (University of Chicago Press, 2020) raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. She is co-editor of Disability and the Victorians: Attitudes, Legacies, Interventions (Manchester University Press, 2020), has published articles on diagnostic technologies, audiometry, hearing aids, and the medicalization of deafness, as well as essays in The Atlantic and the New Internationalist.
 

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Bess Williamson

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Bess Williamson is a historian of design and material culture with a particular interest in social and political concerns in design, including environmental, labor, justice, and rights issues as they shape and are shaped by spaces and things. Her book, Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design, traces the history of design responses to disability rights from 1945 to recent times. She has also begun work on a new book exploring the alternative roots of ergonomic design in traditionally feminine and working-class sectors including care work, therapy, social work, and home economics. She is currently Associate Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she teaches a range of design history courses to students in BFA and MFA programs.
 

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Hannah Zeavin

UC Berkeley
Hannah Zeavin is a Lecturer in the Departments of English and History at UC Berkeley, and a faculty affiliate of the University of California at Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society. Her research focuses on the coordinated histories of technology and medicine. Zeavin is the author of The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy (MIT Press, August 2021) and at work on her second book, Mother’s Little Helpers: Technology in the American Family (MIT Press, 2023). Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Logic Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, and elsewhere.