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Joanna Radin, PhD

Associate Professor of History of Medicine

Contact Information

Joanna Radin, PhD

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: Global histories of biology, ecology, medicine, and anthropology since 1945; history and anthropology of life and death; biomedical technology and computing; feminist, Indigenous, and queer STS; science fiction

Research Interests

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

Selected Publications