Breathing Space

Author: Gregg Mitman
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300138320
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Allergy is the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. More than fifty million Americans suffer from allergies, and they spend an estimated $18 billion coping with them. Yet despite advances in biomedicine and enormous investment in research over the past fifty years, the burden of allergic disease continues to grow. Why have we failed to reverse this trend? Breathing Space offers an intimate portrait of how allergic disease has shaped American culture, landscape, and life. Drawing on environmental, medical, and cultural history and the life stories of people, plants, and insects, Mitman traces how America’s changing environment from the late 1800s to the present day has led to the epidemic growth of allergic disease. We have seen a never-ending stream of solutions to combat allergies, from hay fever resorts, herbicides, and air-conditioned homes to numerous potions and pills. But, as Mitman shows, despite the quest for a magic bullet, none of the attempted solutions has succeeded. Until we address how our changing environment—physical, biological, social, and economic—has helped to create America’s allergic landscape, that hoped-for success will continue to elude us.

Better Than Well American Medicine Meets the American Dream

Author: Carl Elliott
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393325652
Format: PDF, ePub
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An examination of "enhancement technologies" in America considers the pervasiveness of self-improvement drugs and procedures in spite of society's general unease about their use, considering the reasons why people obsessively pursue self-happiness through conformist methods. Reprint. 13,000 first printing.

Future Remains

Author: Gregg Mitman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022650882X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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What can a pesticide pump, a jar full of sand, or an old calico print tell us about the Anthropocene—the age of humans? Just as paleontologists look to fossil remains to infer past conditions of life on earth, so might past and present-day objects offer clues to intertwined human and natural histories that shape our planetary futures. In this era of aggressive hydrocarbon extraction, extreme weather, and severe economic disparity, how might certain objects make visible the uneven interplay of economic, material, and social forces that shape relationships among human and nonhuman beings? Future Remains is a thoughtful and creative meditation on these questions. The fifteen objects gathered in this book resemble more the tarots of a fortuneteller than the archaeological finds of an expedition—they speak of planetary futures. Marco Armiero, Robert S. Emmett, and Gregg Mitman have assembled a cabinet of curiosities for the Anthropocene, bringing together a mix of lively essays, creatively chosen objects, and stunning photographs by acclaimed photographer Tim Flach. The result is a book that interrogates the origins, implications, and potential dangers of the Anthropocene and makes us wonder anew about what exactly human history is made of.

Our Present Complaint

Author: Charles E. Rosenberg
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9780801887154
Format: PDF, ePub
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Charles E. Rosenberg, one of the world's most influential historians of medicine, presents a fascinating analysis of the current tensions in American medicine. Situating these tensions within their historical and social contexts, Rosenberg investigates the fundamental characteristics of medicine: how we think about disease, how the medical profession thinks about itself and its moral and intellectual responsibilities, and what prospective patients—all of us—expect from medicine and the medical profession. He explores the nature and definition of disease and how ideas of disease causation reflect social values and cultural negotiations. His analyses of alternative medicine and bioethics consider the historically specific ways in which we define and seek to control what is appropriately medical. At a time when clinical care and biomedical research generate as much angst as they offer cures, this volume provides valuable insight into how the practice of medicine has evolved, where it is going, and how lessons from history can improve its prognosis.

Toxic Archipelago

Author: Brett L. Walker
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 0295803010
Format: PDF, Docs
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Every person on the planet is entangled in a web of ecological relationships that link farms and factories with human consumers. Our lives depend on these relationships -- and are imperiled by them as well. Nowhere is this truer than on the Japanese archipelago. During the nineteenth century, Japan saw the rise of Homo sapiens industrialis, a new breed of human transformed by an engineered, industrialized, and poisonous environment. Toxins moved freely from mines, factory sites, and rice paddies into human bodies. Toxic Archipelago explores how toxic pollution works its way into porous human bodies and brings unimaginable pain to some of them. Brett Walker examines startling case studies of industrial toxins that know no boundaries: deaths from insecticide contaminations; poisonings from copper, zinc, and lead mining; congenital deformities from methylmercury factory effluents; and lung diseases from sulfur dioxide and asbestos. This powerful, probing book demonstrates how the Japanese archipelago has become industrialized over the last two hundred years -- and how people and the environment have suffered as a consequence.

The State of Nature

Author: Gregg Mitman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226532363
Format: PDF, ePub
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Although science may claim to be "objective," scientists cannot avoid the influence of their own values on their research. In The State of Nature, Gregg Mitman examines the relationship between issues in early twentieth-century American society and the sciences of evolution and ecology to reveal how explicit social and political concerns influenced the scientific agenda of biologists at the University of Chicago and throughout the United States during the first half of this century. Reacting against the view of nature "red in tooth and claw," ecologists and behavioral biologists such as Warder Clyde Allee, Alfred Emerson, and their colleagues developed research programs they hoped would validate and promote an image of human society as essentially cooperative rather than competitive. Mitman argues that Allee's religious training and pacifist convictions shaped his pioneering studies of animal communities in a way that could be generalized to denounce the view that war is in our genes.

A Family History of Illness

Author: Brett L. Walker
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 0295743042
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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While in the ICU with a near-fatal case of pneumonia, Brett Walker was asked, �Do you have a family history of illness?��a standard and deceptively simple question that for Walker, a professional historian, took on additional meaning and spurred him to investigate his family�s medical past. In this deeply personal narrative, he constructs a history of his body to understand his diagnosis with a serious immunological disorder, weaving together his dying grandfather�s sneaking a cigarette in a shed on the family�s Montana farm, blood fractionation experiments in Europe during World War II, and nineteenth-century cholera outbreaks that ravaged small American towns as his ancestors were making their way west. A Family History of Illness is a gritty historical memoir that examines the body�s immune system and microbial composition as well as the biological and cultural origins of memory and history, offering a startling, fresh way to view the role of history in understanding our physical selves. In his own search, Walker soon realizes that this broader scope is more valuable than a strictly medical family history. He finds that family legacies shape us both physically and symbolically, forming the root of our identity and values, and he urges us to renew our interest in the past or risk misunderstanding ourselves and the world around us.

Documenting the World

Author: Gregg Mitman
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022612925X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Imagine the twentieth century without photography and film. Its history would be absent of images that define historical moments and generations: the death camps of Auschwitz, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Apollo lunar landing. It would be a history, in other words, of just artists’ renderings and the spoken and written word. To inhabitants of the twenty-first century, deeply immersed in visual culture, such a history seems insubstantial, imprecise, and even, perhaps, unscientific. Documenting the World is about the material and social life of photographs and film made in the scientific quest to document the world. Drawing on scholars from the fields of art history, visual anthropology, and science and technology studies, the chapters in this book explore how this documentation—from the initial recording of images, to their acquisition and storage, to their circulation—has altered our lives, our ways of knowing, our social and economic relationships, and even our surroundings. Far beyond mere illustration, photography and film have become an integral, transformative part of the world they seek to show us.

The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History

Author: Andrew Christian Isenberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
ISBN: 0195324900
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book explores the methodology of environmental history, with an emphasis on the field's interaction with other historiographies such as consumerism, borderlands, and gender. It examines the problem of environmental context, specifically the problem and perception of environmental determinism, by focusing on climate, disease, fauna, and regional environments. It also considers the changing understanding of scientific knowledge.

Baptized in PCBs

Author: Ellen Griffith Spears
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469611716
Format: PDF
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Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town