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
    Review of Patrick Tierney, Darkness in El Dorado
    (2001-04-01) Lindee, Susan M
    More than once as the controversy over this book unfolded reporters and others told me the number of footnotes in Tierney's chapter on the measles outbreak: 147. I have now tallied the total number of footnores in the entire book including the appendix (1,599). Such numbers seem to interst people. It is considerable more difficult to quantify the evidentiary force and legitimacy of these footnores. My own assessment is perhaps suggested by the fact that I have rewritten this review several times in an effort to make it difficult for anyone to extract a decontextualized endorsement on some future web page or book jacket. This accounts for the somewhat stilted style, for which I apologize.
  • 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.
  • Publication
    A Defense of Gay Science. Review of Timothy F. Murphy, Gay Science: The Ethics of Sexual Orientation Research
    (1998) Lindee, Susan M
    It is a measure of the strength, clarity, and coherence of this outstanding book that the reader will sometimes be uncomfortable with its precise logic. Timothy Murphy, a professor of medical humanities at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, builds a strong argument in support of sexual orientation research despite the fact that a scientific marker for sexual behavior would make possible a host of draconian bodily controls. These could include drug therapies and the selective abortion of fetuses marked by undesired sexuality. The possible reduction in the number of gay individuals that such science could conceivably produce is not a sufficient reason, in Murphy's interpretation, to constrain the choices of adults either to refuse to parent a gay child or to seek medical therapy themselves for their own unwanted desires.
  • Publication
    Voices of the Dead: James Neel's Amerindian Studies
    (2003-01-01) Lindee, Susan M
    During his 1967 fieldwork, James V. Neel, professor of human genetics at the University of Michigan, spent a good deal of time collecting chicken dung. He scraped up dirt and chicken waste from the ground around the Yanomamö villages. He sought out dirt from the floors of the Yanomamö houses, where parrots were kept as free-roaming pets. He crawled under chicken coops, filling seventy-five labeled plastic bags with samples, using a fresh plastic spoon for each sample, and he worried about getting this soil and bird waste safely back to Atlanta, Georgia, for testing at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).1
  • Publication
    Provenance and the Pedigree: Victor McKusick's Fieldwork with the Old Order Amish
    (2003-01-01) Lindee, Susan M
    Provenance is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the record of the "ultimate derivation and passage of an item through its various owners." The term is most commonly used to describe the history or pedigree of a painting—who has owned it, its value at various stages—but it also has a meaning in silviculture, in which it refers explicitly to genetic stock. Provenance, for forestry professionals, is the record of where a seed was taken and of a character of the "mother trees." In this essay I explore provenance in both sense, as a textual record of the origins of a given object (in this case a blood or tissue sample) and as a record of genetic stock. I focus on fieldwork, which creates a record of origins that can certify the authenticity and reliability of a particular pedigree, which then can acquire status as a form of scientific evidence.
  • Publication
    Transubstantiation in Science. Review of Anglea Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and M. Norton Wise, Science Without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives; Jessica Riskin, Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life
    (2009-01-01) Lindee, Susan M
    These two volumes made me think about transubstantiation, the process through which something retains its form, color, and shape, yet becomes, in reality, something else. The usual example is the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, in the Roman Catholic ritual of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation is a standardized miracle (the repetitive, guaranteed miracle of the Mass, offered four times a day). The miracle requires dense layers of social and rhetorical labor, and in this sense, it is not unlike the work of using models in Drosophila genetics, plate tectonics, or primatology. But I have something a bit grander in mind.
  • Publication
    The American Career of Jane Marcet's Conversations on Chemistry, 1806-1853
    (1991-03-01) Lindee, Susan M
    Jane Haldimand Marcet's Conversations on Chemistry has traditionally claimed historical attention for its effects on the young bookbinder Michael Faraday, who was converted to a life of science while binding and reading it. Marcet "inspired Faraday with a love of science and blazed for him that road in chemical and physical experimentation which led to such marvelous results," in H.J. Mozans's romantic account. Or, as Eva Armstrong put it, Marcet led Faraday to "dedicate himself to a science in which his name became immortal."1
  • Publication
    Is Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Medicine's Canary?
    (2011-01-01) Lindee, Susan M; Mueller, Rebecca
    In 1989 the gene that causes cystic fibrosis (CF) was identified in a search accompanied by intense anticipation that the gene, once discovered, would lead rapidly to gene therapy. Many hoped that the disease would effectively disappear. Those affected were going to inhale vectors packed with functioning genes, which would go immediately to work in the lungs. It was a bewitching image, repeatedly invoked in both scientific and popular texts. Gene therapy clinical trials were carried out with a range of strategies and occasionally success seemed close, but by 1996 the idea that gene therapy for CF would quickly provide a cure was being abandoned by the communities engaged with treatment and research. While conventional wisdom holds that the death of Jesse Gelsinger in an unrelated gene therapy trial in 1999 produced new skepticism about gene therapy for CF and suggests that CF may provide a particularly compelling case study of a failed genomic technology, perhaps even of a medical "canary." The story of CF might be a find of warning to us that genetic medicine may create as many problems as it solves, and that moving forward constructively with these techniques and practices requires many kinds of right information, not just about biology, but also about values, priorities, market forces, uncertainty, and consumer choice.