Anthrobiota: Coevolving an Anthropology of Microbes

03/27/2020 - 2:00pm
18th Floor, Patterson Office Tower
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s): 
Amber Benezra, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies, College of Arts and Letters at Stevens Institute of Technology
Amber Benezra is a sociocultural anthropologist researching how studies of the human microbiome intersect with biomedical ethics, public health/technological infrastructures, and care. In partnership with human microbial ecologists, she is developing an "anthropology of microbes" to address global health problems across disciplines. Her forthcoming book from University of Minnesota Press, Anthrobiota: Coevolving an Anthropology of Microbes, is the first ethnography of the microbiome. Based on fieldwork at the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the book explores how the study of human microbiota opens up new ontological terrain for social scientists. An anthropology of microbes operationalizes ethnographic knowledge, asking us to be ethnographers of and for microbiome research, facing the corresponding compromises and uncertainties, challenges and failures. Her work has also been published in Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and BioSocieties. 
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