Drugs for Life


How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (2012 Duke University Press) Kindle version is now out! Hear my radio interview about Drugs for Life on BBC 4 Thinking Allowed Every year the average number of prescriptions purchased by Americans increases, as do healthcare expenditures, which are projected to reach one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product Continue reading…

Teach Affecting Attention, Material Thought


ANT210 Affecting Attention, Material Thought Instructor: Joe Dumit  Time: Fall 2011   The encounter between two disciplines doesn’t take place when one reflects on the other, but when one discipline realizes that it has to resolve, for itself, a problem similar to one confronted by the other. – Gilles Deleuze In this course we will Continue reading…

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…

Teach ABody++


ANT 210-001, Tue 3-6p, Young 224 Prof. Joseph Dumit, dumit@ucdavis.edu   Class is designed around learning to answer and re-answer the following questions: What can a body do? Where does a body end? How does a body feel? Does a body have a machine? How can a body be extended? How does a body end? Continue reading…

Expressing the CAVES


Expressing the Caves: Art & Science in 3D Immersive Dialogue, co-designed by Dumit, sculptor Robin Hill and geologist Dawn Sumner, was originally planned as a daylong session for 18 artists and computer scientists to brainstorm new ideas, but thanks to the exigencies of scheduling, it morphed into an ongoing series of visits by individuals or Continue reading…

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…

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…

»How I Read


Notes on reading modes sent to a grad class: I wanted to respond to the questions raised during our class regarding what kind of a reading I have been doing over these weeks.  I see it as close (as opposed to general), constructive (as opposed to deconstructive), positive (as opposed to negative), generous (as opposed Continue reading…


»Biomedicine as Culture

Biomedicine as Culture

Co-edited with Regula Burri in 2008. Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life (Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society), best described through contents: Introduction REGULA VALÉRIE BURRI AND JOSEPH DUMIT PART I Social and cultural studies of biomedicine 1 Medicalizing culture(s) or culturalizing medicine(s) STEFAN BECK 2 Metaphors of medicine Continue reading…


»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…