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The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease
     

The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease

by Keith Wailoo, Stephen Pemberton
 

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Why do racial and ethnic controversies become attached, as they often do, to discussions of modern genetics? How do theories about genetic difference become entangled with political debates about cultural and group differences in America? Such issues are a conspicuous part of the histories of three hereditary diseases: Tay-Sachs, commonly identified with Jewish

Overview

Why do racial and ethnic controversies become attached, as they often do, to discussions of modern genetics? How do theories about genetic difference become entangled with political debates about cultural and group differences in America? Such issues are a conspicuous part of the histories of three hereditary diseases: Tay-Sachs, commonly identified with Jewish Americans; cystic fibrosis, often labeled a "Caucasian" disease; and sickle cell disease, widely associated with African Americans.

In this captivating account, historians Keith Wailoo and Stephen Pemberton reveal how these diseases—fraught with ethnic and racial meanings for many Americans—became objects of biological fascination and crucibles of social debate. Peering behind the headlines of breakthrough treatments and coming cures, they tell a complex story: about different kinds of suffering and faith, about unequal access to the promises and perils of modern medicine, and about how Americans consume innovation and how they come to believe in, or resist, the notion of imminent medical breakthroughs.

With Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell disease as a powerful backdrop, the authors provide a glimpse into a diverse America where racial ideologies, cultural politics, and conflicting beliefs about the power of genetics shape disparate health care expectations and experiences.

Editorial Reviews

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Abidemi Adegbola
The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine brings into focus intriguing concepts at the intersection of science and society... This book ought to encourage others to produce biosocial histories of this kind.

PsycCRITIQUES
The authors are two historians of health care policy and politics, and their well-researched account of the 'genetic revolution' reveals drama and intrigue rarely seen in descriptions of medical history.

JAMA - Doris Teichler Zallen
Practitioners of the future will have to take these separate histories into account as this new era unfolds.

Social History of Medicine - Jackie Leach Scully
Fascinating.

Journal of the History of Medicine - Christopher Crenner
Perfectly suited for use in teaching the history of medicine and health... At once concise, readable, and demanding in its parsimony. It should not be missed by anyone who cares about the emerging shape of health care in the age of genomic medicine.

Isis - Michel Morange
The book deserves to be read by a large public—and in particular by those who are in charge of, or concerned with, decisions about health politics.

Science
Concise and well-argued... essential reading for anyone interested in genetics, disease, and the meaning of race.

JAMA
Practitioners of the future will have to take these separate histories into account as this new era unfolds.

— Doris Teichler Zallen, PhD

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine brings into focus intriguing concepts at the intersection of science and society... This book ought to encourage others to produce biosocial histories of this kind.

— Abidemi Adegbola, M.D.

Journal of the History of Medicine
Perfectly suited for use in teaching the history of medicine and health... At once concise, readable, and demanding in its parsimony. It should not be missed by anyone who cares about the emerging shape of health care in the age of genomic medicine.

— Christopher Crenner

Social History of Medicine
Fascinating.

— Jackie Leach Scully

Isis
Offers interesting information and pertinent discussions... The book deserves to be read by a large public.

— Michel Morange

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801889363
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
264
File size:
18 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Kaja Finkler
No book brings together contemporary understandings of genetics as a social rather than a biological project as nicely as The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine. This book, accessible to both scholars and general readers, greatly contributes to our understanding of the ways in which concepts developed in genetic medicine influence people's definitions of ethnicity and race.

Meet the Author

Keith Wailoo is a professor in the Department of History and the Institute of Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University. He is the author of Drawing Blood: Technology and Disease Identity in Twentieth-Century America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997) and Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (University of North Carolina Press, 2001). Stephen Pemberton is an assistant professor in the Federated Department of History at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University.

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