Joanna Radin, PhD

Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine, of Anthropology and of History

Research Interests

Bioethics; Epidemiology; Ethics; Expeditions; History of Medicine; Global Health; Cryopreservation; Biomedical Technology; Infectious Disease Medicine

Research Organizations

History of Medicine

Faculty Research

Global Health Initiative

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

My book, Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood (University of Chicago Press, 2017) tracks Cold War efforts to freeze blood salvaged from members of indigenous communities. This project, which helps to explain the current phenomenon of biobanking, focuses on ideas about human life science and practices of salvage. The broader role of freezing technologies in modern society is explored in the co-authored (with Emma Kowal) book, Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (MIT University Press, 2017).

These lines of investigation are part of a bigger research program on "biomedical futures," a historical and anthropological inquiry into how visions of the future shape the emergence of biomedicine in the present. This has included research on the history of "big data," of science and colonialism, of patronage for the human sciences, and of the relationship between science fiction and scientific speculation.

Specialized Terms: History of biology, medicine, and anthropology since 1945; Scientific expeditions; Biomedical ethics, human subjects research, collections, and laboratories; History of global health; Biomedical technology, science fiction.

Selected Publications

  • Joanna Radin. (2014) “Collecting Human Subjects,” Curator 57(2).
  • Emma Kowal, Joanna Radin, Jenny Reardon. (2013) “Indigenous Body Parts, Mutating Temporalities, and the Half-Lives of Postcolonial Technoscience” Programmatic introduction to special issue of Social Studies of Science on “Indigenous Body Parts and Postcolonial Technoscience.” 43(4)
  • Joanna Radin. (2013) “Latent Life: Concepts and Practices of Tissue Preservation in the International Biological Program.” Social Studies of Science 43(4): 483-508.
  • “Studying Mandela’s children: human biology in post-Apartheid South Africa” An interview with Noel Cameron, by Joanna Radin. Published as part of “The Biological Anthropology of Living Human Populations: World Histories, National Styles and International Networks” Current Anthropology, 2012, 53(S5).
  • Sarah Kaplan & Joanna Radin. (2011) “Bounding an Emerging Technology: Deconstructing the Drexler-Smalley Debate about Nanotechnology.” Social Studies of Science. 41(4) 457–485. (authors listed alphabetically).
  • Jonathan Scott Friedlaender as told to Joanna Radin. From Anthropometry to Genomics: Reflections of a Pacific Fieldworker. (Iuniverse.com Press, 2009.)
  • Arthur Daemmrich & Joanna Radin (eds). Perspectives on Risk and Regulation: The FDA at 100 (Philadelphia: CHF Press, 2007).
  • Joanna Radin and Emma Kowal. (2015) American Ethnologist, 42(4): 749-765.
  • Joanna Radin. (2015) Journal of Cultural Economy. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2015.1039458
  • Susan Lindee and Joanna Radin. (2016) Current Anthropology, 57(S14): S218-S301.
  • Joanna Radin (2017) Osiris.
  • Joanna Radin (2014) Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part C, 47: 62-73
  • Joanna Radin. (2014) Curator 57(2), co-edited with Ann Kakaliouras

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Joanna Radin, PhD