Lindee, Susan

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Sputnik, Cold War Nostalgia, and 9/11: The Lessons of Sputnik post-9/11
    (2007-10-04) Lindee, Susan M
    It is not an anniversary we usually celebrate and it was not any fun for the United States at the time. Fifty years ago today, on the night of October 4, 1957, a 22-inch aluminum ball, primitive by today's standards, sent the American public, and the policy and scientific elite, into high crisis.[1]
  • Publication
    The Biological Anthropology of Living Human Populations: World Histories, National Styles, and International Networks
    (2012-04-01) Lindee, Susan M; Santos, Ricardo V
    We introduce a special issue of Current Anthropology developed from a Wenner-Gren symposium held in Teresópolis, Brazil, in 2010 that was about the past, present, and future of biological anthropology. Our goal was to understand from a comparative international perspective the contexts of genesis and development of physical/biological anthropology around the world. While biological anthropology today can encompass paleoanthropology, primatology, and skeletal biology, our symposium focused on the field's engagement with living human populations. Bringing together scholars in the history of science, science studies, and anthropology, the participants examined the discipline's past in different contexts but also reflected on its contemporary and future conditions. Our contributors explore national histories, collections, and scientific field practice with the goal of developing a broader understanding of the discipline's history. Our work tracks a global, uneven transition from a typological and essentialist physical anthropology, predominating until the first decades of the twentieth century, to a biological anthropology informed by postsynthesis evolutionism and the rise of molecular biology, a shift that was labeled "new physical anthropology." We place biological anthropology in a broad historical context and suggest how the histories we document can inform its future.
  • Publication
    Review of Jonathan M. Weisgall, Operation Crossroads: The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll
    (1995-06-01) Lindee, Susan M
    The island of Bikini is at the cener of this meticulous reconstruction of the weapons tests conducted there. Jonathan Weisgall has been legal counsel to the Bikini islanders since 1975, and his narrative is most compelling when it stays close to the islanders. There is barely an analytical sentence in the book, and the author is prone to harsh adjectives for those who promulgated the tests. But the storytelling is first rate, and Weisgall has done more than his share of combining archives and dissecting oral history interviews.
  • Publication
    The ELSI Hypothesis. Review of George Annas and Sherman Elias, Gene Mapping: Using Law and Ethics as Guides; Daniel Kevles and Leroy Hood, The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project; Marcel Melancon and Raymond Lambert, le genome humain: Une responsabilite scientifique et sociale; Michael Yesley, Bibliography: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project
    (1994-06-01) Lindee, Susan M
    For the historian of science the current international program aimed at mapping and sequencing the entire human genome can be a bit of a headache. The literature on the Human Genome Project (HGP) is vast and inadequate; the endeavor itself is complicated, involving many institutions and funding sources and demanding at least some technical knowledge of molecular genetics, computational biology, informatics, and medical genetics, not to mention science policy and corporate biotechnology. The project is indecently contemporary, at best eight years old. Meanwhile, genome project promoters (genomics scientists, biologists turned journalists, and actual journalists) have been producing instant histories of the HGP, complete with founding parents and eureka experiences. In these accounts, the anticipated complete map of the human genome, expected by around 2000, commonly appears as a critical medical resource that will make it possible for geneticists to understand and cure genetic disease and, indeed, almost all disease. Such bewitching promises are of course part of an established genre of political narrative that is presumably not taken too seriously, least of all by those making the claims. But they have added poignancy to the public debate, as those afflicted with genetic disease or those who fear their children will be so afflicted long for the DNA translation that will, they hope, end their cross-generational suffering.
  • Publication
    Creating Natural Distinctions
    (1997) Nelkin, Dorothy; Lindee, Susan M
    At the 1991 CLAGS conference on "The Homosexual Brain," Dorothy Nelkin argued that linking homosexual behavior to brain structure reflects in part the growing preoccupation with biological determinism in American culture. Responding to the expectation that defining homosexuality as a biological status will reduce prejudice, she suggested that genetic explanations in fact can serve multiple social agendas. In particular, they have in the past been used to justify social stereotypes and persistent inequities as "natural" and therefore inevitable. Thus, while biological claims could lead to greater tolerance for human differences, they can also lead to pernicious abuse. Ultimately, it is not biology but common beliefs and social biases that shape social policies. The appropriation of genetic explanations is the subject of a book by Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee, The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon. The following material, excerpted from this book, contains the core of Nelkin's 1991 remarks.
  • Publication
    Review of Evelyn Fox Keller, Refiguring Life: Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology
    (1997-04-01) Lindee, Susan M
    Moleuclar biology has attracted historical attention in recent years, prompted perhaps by the Human Genome Project, the rise of the biotechnology industry, or the exuberant participant-histories of the 1970s and 1980s. A satisfactory explanation of this scientific field and its cultural and political moorings has yet to appear but much new work is on the way.
  • Publication
    Review of Peter M. Hammond and Gradon B. Carter, From Biological Warfare to Healthcare: Porton Down, 1940-2000
    (2003-01-01) Lindee, Susan M
    The British biological warfare laboratory established at Porton Down in 1940 occupies a special niche in the history of science and war. It has been a restricted and highly controlled space for the production of secret knowledge, and it has provoked sustained and enduring public controversy since as early as 1948. It has operated at the margin between the public and the secret, between offensive and defensive knowledge of pathogens, and between military research and health-care research. True and untrue rumors of novel diseases, infected research animals, accients, suspicious deaths, and long-term contamination have focused on the facility for decades. The laboratory's staff scientists have also published many hundreds of respectable papers in scientific and medical journals. Porton Down is a place where the contradictions of twentieth-century biomedical science are clear and compelling.
  • Publication
    Cloning in the Popular Imagination
    (2001-01-01) Nelkin, Dorothy; Lindee, Susan M
    Dolly is a cloned sheet born in July 1996 at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh by Ian Wilmut, a British embryologist. She was produced, after 276 failed attempts, from the genetic material of a six-year-old sheep. But Dolly is also a Rorschach test. The public response to the production of a lamb from an adult cell mirrors the futuristic fantasies and Frankenstein fears that have more broadly surrounded research in genetics, and especially genetic engineering. Dolly stands in for other monstrosities—both actual and fictional—that human knowledge and technique have produced. She provokes fear not so much because she is novel, but because she is such a familiar entity: a biological product of human design who appears to be a human surrogate. Dolly as "virtual" person is terrifying and seductive—despite her placid temperament.
  • Publication
    Patrons of the Human Experience: A History of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, 1941-2016
    (2016-10-01) Lindee, Susan M; Radin, Joanna
    The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research has played a critical but little-understodd role in the development of the social and biological sciences after 1941. For anthropology particularly, its programs have often helped redefine scholarly priorities and research trajectories. Its grants to doctoral students have functioned as an important early sign of scholarly legitimacy, a mark of belonging to the profession. The foundation's history also reflects general transformations in scientific partronage as new landscapes of federal, military, and private funding re-configured opportunities in the social sciences. In this account we track the evolution of the foundation in tandem with the evolution of anthropology during a period of dramatic change after 1941, looking at the Second World War context from which the foundation emerged and the ideas and experiences of those who played a key role in this history. We examine the long-term influence of a philanthropic foundation on the postwar emergence of an internationally oriented anthropology from a tiny, almost clubby discipline with a few key institutions and leaders to a mahor academic and scientific enterprise with sometimes revolutionary ideas about evolution, human biology, race, culture, power, gender, and social order.