Short publications, e.g. articles, essays

hand-brain

2014

Plastic Neuroscience: Studying what the brain cares about

Drawing on Allan Newell’s “You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In Continue reading…

implosion-lain

WRITING THE IMPLOSION: Teaching the World One Thing at a Time

This has been my mainstay form of doing and thinking ethnographically a connected and disconnected world. A reading of Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 2 in dialogue with Donna Haraway’s works and methods. Working through the former helps me unpack the process of Haraway’s inquisitive “implosion” method and some of its aims better. I describe this as Continue reading…

PillDollar

2012

The Biomarx Experiment

“We want to maximize the number of new prescriptions…” “We want to identify people at risk at the earliest possible point…” Pharmaceutical marketers want to maximize the number of prescriptions in order to maximize profits. They see clinical trials as investments whose purpose was to increase sales of medicines, “Important clinical studies to conduct from Continue reading…

HapticCreativityImage2

2011

Haptic Creativity

Co-authored with Natasha Myers. 2011 “Haptic Creativity and the Mid-Embodiments of Experimental Life,” in Companion to the Anthropology of Bodies/Embodiment.  In this chapter, we present our collaboration working as anthropologists of experimental forms of life. We examine fieldsites where practitioners develop and use computerized visualization technologies. In the process we aim to collaborate with scientists and Continue reading…

non-compliance-daniels

2010

Inter-pill-ation and the instrumentalization of compliance

Compliance’s usefulness as a measure of prescribed treatment adherence by a patient has been its ability to index treatment success, and therefore help in ensuring and governing health. What these anthropologists have discovered, however, is that because of its function as an index, compliance has been itself instrumentalized and made to serve goals sometimes quite far from health.

Skeleton At Computer 1

2009

Sitting, Academic Style

STS as Equipment for Literature: Sitzfleisch Material Semiosis (draft for 4S talk for panel, “Get your theories up and running with lively machines” – comments welcome) the title is a variation on rhetorician Kenneth Burke’s brilliant piece, “Literature as Equipment for Living,” describing the uses of inspirational and self-help books, noting that most people read Continue reading…

2008

Direct-to-Consumer Ads

This is the opening challenge in a Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) television commercial for Nexium, first aired in 2004. The aim of the commercial is to connect directly with the experience of heartburn sufferers so that they see themselves in the persons in the ads whom we are then told suffer from acid reflux disease, a disease Continue reading…

CyborgMouse

2006

Neuroexistentialism

[Excerpts:] Parsing the neuronal sensorium is already to dismantle through analysis that which we imagine to be a comprehensive totality. If our sensorium is the sensing package that constitutes our participation in the world, then it follows that this assemblage of sensory inputs defines our boundaries, making the world present to us and by subtraction making Continue reading…

2006

Informing Pharmaceutical Cultures

JOSEPH DUMIT AND NATHAN GREENSLIT INFORMATED HEALTH AND ETHICAL IDENTITY MANAGEMENT (Editorial) Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 2006.  DOI: 10.1007/s11013-006-9017-z  The scale of pharmaceuticals is almost unbelievable: trillions of pills consumed per year, 602 billion dollars in global sales, 3.6 billion prescriptions in the U.S. alone in 2005. The average insured American purchased thirteen different prescriptions last Continue reading…

ChakraDiagram.jpg

2001

Playing Truths

Logics of Seeking and the Persistence of the New Age File Here  

Chronic Fatigue CFS 4

2000

When Explanations Rest

“Good-Enough” Brain Science and the New Socio-Medical Disorders. Published in in Living and Working with the New Biomedical Technologies: Intersections of Inquiry, eds. Margaret Lock, Allan Young and Alberto Cambrosio. Explanations come to an end somewhere. – Wittgenstein Wittgenstein’s opening to Philosophical Investigations points to a funda­ mental crisis in scientific and medical research: When is there enough Continue reading…

ConversationMap-VLSC.jpg

Artificial Participation

An Interview with Warren Sack Appears in Zeroing in on the Year 2000: The Final Edition (Late Editions 8 ) George E. Marcus, Editor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). Preface: Recently I was talking with a friend, relating an incident that had happened to me when my word processing program froze, when I realized Continue reading…

Rampage-InScanner-1.jpg

1999

Objective Brains, Prejudicial Images

Science in Context 12, 1 (1999), pp.173-201 In this article I argue that brain images constructed with computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) are part of a category of “expert images” and are both visually persuasive and also particularly difficult to interpret and understand by non-experts. Following the innovative judicial analogy of “demonstrative Continue reading…

CyborgAnthropologySite

1995

Cyborg Anthropology

The text of a paper we presented at the 1992 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco. It represents a first attempt at positioning cyborg anthropology in a late capitalist world that situates academic theorizing alongside popular theorizing. We view cyborg anthropology as a descriptive label that marks a cultural project rather Continue reading…

»Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity

k7674

By showing us the human brain at work, PET (positron emission tomography) scans are subtly–and sometimes not so subtly–transforming how we think about our minds. Picturing Personhood follows this remarkable and expensive technology from the laboratory into the world and back. It examines how PET scans are created and how they are being called on Continue reading…

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»5 Essential Tips for Getting a Grant

grants-money

These tips are aimed primarily at interdisciplinary researchers in the social sciences & humanities, but will hopefully be helpful for many others. They are based on years of sitting on grant panels, reading over a thousand grants, discussions and tips from colleagues about their experiences, and lots of presentations at STS camp and proposal writing Continue reading…

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»When Explanations Rest

Chronic Fatigue CFS 4

“Good-Enough” Brain Science and the New Socio-Medical Disorders. Published in in Living and Working with the New Biomedical Technologies: Intersections of Inquiry, eds. Margaret Lock, Allan Young and Alberto Cambrosio. Explanations come to an end somewhere. – Wittgenstein Wittgenstein’s opening to Philosophical Investigations points to a funda­ mental crisis in scientific and medical research: When is there enough Continue reading…

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