Required Texts

[D&P] = Daston, Lorraine, and Katherine Park. Wonders and the Order of Nature 1150–1750. Zone Books, 2001. ISBN: 9780942299915.

[Burnett] = Burnett, D. Graham. Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case That Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature. Princeton University Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780691129501.

[MW & R] = Buy at MIT Press Müller-Wille, Staffan, and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, eds. Heredity Produced: At the Crossroads of Biology, Politics, and Culture, 1500–1870. MIT Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780262134767. [Preview with Google Books]

[Browne] = Browne, Janet. Charles Darwin: A Biography, Volume 1—Voyaging. Princeton University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780691026060.

[Hamdy] = Hamdy, Sherine. Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt. University of California Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780520271760. [Preview with Google Books]

[Roberts] = Roberts, Elizabeth. God's Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes. University of California Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780520270824. [Preview with Google Books]

[Anderson] = Anderson, Warwick. The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. ISBN: 9780801890406.

[Jones] = Jones, David. Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781421408019. [Preview with Google Books]

[Dumit] = Dumit, Joseph. Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health. Duke University Press Books, 2012. ISBN: 9780822348719. [Preview with Google Books]

[Helmreich] = Helmreich, Stefan. Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas. University of California Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780520250628. [Preview with Google Books]

[Graham] = Burnett, D. Graham. The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century. University Of Chicago Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780226081304. [Preview with Google Books]

Further Readings

Suggestions for readings to continue exploring topics introduced in the required readings, there is a list of further readings.

Readings By Session

1 Introduction: What Is Life, and How Do We Study It?  
2 Before Biology: Experiencing and Organizing Bodies and Nature

Kuriyama, Shigehisa. "Interpreting the History of Bloodletting." Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 50, no. 1 (1995): 11–46.

[D & L] "Introduction", "The Topography of Wonder", "The Passions of Inquiry", and "The Enlightenment and the Anti-Marvelous." pp. 13–66, and 303–68.

[Burnett] pp. 1–8, 95–144, and 190–222.

3 Biology, in Theory

Coleman, William. Biology in the Nineteenth Century: Problems of Form, Function and Transformation. Cambridge University Press, 1977, pp. 1–15.

Foucault, Michel. "Classifying." In The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. Translated from the French 'Les mots et los choses'. Random House, 1994, pp. 125–65. ISBN: 9780679753353.

Helmreich, Stefan, and Sophia Roosth. This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader."Life Forms: A Keyword Entry." (PDF) Representations 112, no. 1 (2010): 27–53.

Beer, Gillian. "Preface to the Second Edition", and "Introduction." In Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. xvii-xxxiii, and 1–21. ISBN: 9780521783927. [Preview with Google Books]

Foucault, Michel. "Right of Death and Power over Life." In The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction. Translated from the French by Robert Hurley. Vintage, 1978, pp. 135–59. ISBN: 9780394417752.

Rabinow, Paul. "Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality." In Incorporations. Edited by Jonathan Crary, and Sanford Kwinter. Zone Books, 1992, pp. 234–52. ISBN: 9780942299298.

Helmreich, Stefan. "What Was Life? Answers from Three Limit Biologies." Critical Inquiry 37, no. 4 (2011): 671–96.

4 Biology Emerging: Heredity and Life in Formation and Evolution

[MW & R] "Heredity—The Formation of an Epistemic Space." pp. 3–4.

[MW & R] López-Beltrán, Carlos. "The Medical Origins of Heredity." pp. 105–32.

[MW & R] "Figures of Inheritance, 1650–1850." pp. 177–204.

[MW & R] Duchesneau, François. "The Delayed Linkage of Heredity with the Cell Theory." pp. 293–314.

[Browne] "Part 2: Traveller." pp. 167–340.

5 Form I: Genes, Molecular Biology

Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg. "The 'Epistemic Thing'and Its Technical Conditions: From Bio-chemistry to Molecular Biology." In The Interaction between Technology and Science. Edited by Bart Gremmen. Wageninggen Agricultural University, 1991, pp. 281–91.

Keller, Evelyn Fox. "Synthetic Biology and the Origin of Living Form", and "Genes. Gene Action, and Genetic Programs." In Making Sense of Life: Explaining Biological Development with Models, Metaphors, and Machines. Harvard University Press, 2002, pp. 15–49, and 123–47. ISBN: 9780674007468. [Preview with Google Books]

Kay, Lily. "In the Beginning Was the Word?: The Genetic Code and the Book of Life." In The Science Studies Reader. Edited by Mario Biagioli. Routledge, 1999, pp. 224–33. ISBN: 9780415918688.

De Chadarevian, Soraya. "Reconstructing Life: Molecuiar Biology in Postwar Britain." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33, no. 3 (2002): 431–48.

Strasser, Bruno J. "A World in One Dimension: Linus Pauling, Francis Crick and the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology." History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28, no. 4 (2006): 491–512.

6 Form II: Race, Then and Now

Haraway, Donna. "Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture, Or It's All in the Family: Biological Kinship Categories in the Twentieth-Century United States." In Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature. Edited by William Cronon. W. W. Norton & Company, 1996, pp. 321–66. ISBN: 9780393315110.

Kahn, Jonathan. "Patenting Race." Nature Biotechnology 24, no. 11 (2006): 1349–51.

Rotimi, Charles. "Genetic Ancestry Tracing and African Identity: A Double-Edged Sword?" Developing World Bioethics 3, no. 2 (2003): 151–8.

Reardon, Jenny. "The Human Genome Diversity Project: A Case Study in Coproduction." Social Studies of Science 31, no. 3 (2001): 357–88.

Abu Al-Haj, Nadia. "The Genetic Reinscription of Race." Annual Review of Anthropology 36 (2007): 283–300.

7 Form III: Bodies and Religion


Roberts, Elizabeth. God's Laboratory: Assisted Reproduction in the Andes. University of California Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780520270831. [Preview with Google Books]

8 Function I: Medicine and Difference


Rapp, Rayna. "How Methodology Bleeds into Everyday Life", "Accounting for Amniocentesis", and "The Communication of Risk." In Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: A Social History of Amniocentesis in America. Routledge, 2000, pp. 1–77. ISBN: 9780415916455.

9 Function II: Medicine and Markets



10 Transformation I: New Biopolitics and Bioeconomies

Franklin, Sarah. "Sex." In Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy. Duke University Press Books, 2007, pp. 19–45. ISBN: 9780822339205. [Preview with Google Books]

Kirksey, S. Eben, and Stefan Helmreich. "The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography." Cultural Anthropology 25, no. 4 (2010): 545–76.

Petryna, Adriana. "Biological Citizenship: The Science and Politics of Chernobyl-Exposed Populations." Osiris 19, 2nd Series (2004): 250–65.

Lock, Margaret. "Displacing Suffering: The Reconstruction of Death in North America and Japan." In Death, Mourning and Burial: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Edited by A. Robben. Blackwell Publishers, 2004, pp. 189–204. [Preview with Google Books]

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. "The Last Commodity: Post-Human Ethics and the Global Traffic in 'Fresh'Organs." In Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems. Edited by Aihwa Ong, and Stephen Collier. Wiley Blackwell, 2004, pp. 145–67. ISBN: 9781405123587.

Paxson, Heather. "Post-Pasteurian Cultures: The Microbiopolitics of Artisanal Raw Milk Cheese in the United States." Cultural Anthropology 23, no. 1 (2008): 15–47.

Schüll, Natasha Dow. "Balancing Acts: The Double Bind of Therapeutics." In Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas. Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 239–56. ISBN: 9780691127552. [Preview with Google Books]

11 Transformation II: Life at Sea