Useful Bodies: Humans in the Service of Medical Science in the Twentieth Century

Useful Bodies: Humans in the Service of Medical Science in the Twentieth Century


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Though notoriously associated with Germany, human experimentation in the name of science has been practiced in other countries, as well, both before and after the Nazi era. The use of unwitting or unwilling subjects in experiments designed to test the effects of radiation and disease on the human body emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, when the rise of the modern, coercive state and the professionalization of medical science converged. Useful Bodies explores the intersection of government power and medical knowledge in revealing studies of human experimentation—germ warfare and jaundice tests in Great Britain; radiation, malaria, and hepatitis experiments in the U.S.; and nuclear fallout trials in Australia. These examples of medical abuse illustrate the extent to which living human bodies have been "useful" to democratic states and emphasize the need for intense scrutiny and regulation to prevent future violations.

Contributors: Brian Balmer, University College London; Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald, University of Wisconsin; Rodney A. Hayward, University of Michigan; Joel D. Howell, University of Michigan; Margaret Humphreys, Duke University; David S. Jones, Massachusetts General Hospital; Robert L. Martensen, Tulane University School of Medicine; Glenn Mitchell, University of Wollongong; Jenny Stanton, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Gilbert Whittemore, independent scholar/attorney, Boston

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801873423
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2003
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Jordan Goodman is an honorary research fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London. Anthony McElligott is founding professor of history at the University of Limerick and director of the Centre for Historical Research. Lara Marks is a visiting senior research associate at Cambridge University and an honorary senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Table of Contents

Contents:1. Making Human Bodies Useful: Historicizing Medical Experiments in the Twentieth CenturyPART I: What Is a Human Experiment?

2. Using the Population Body to Protect the National Body: Germ Warfare Tests in the United Kingom after World War II

3. Whose Body? Which Disease? Studying Malaria while Treating NeurosyphilisPART II: Who Experiments?

4. Human Radiation Experiments and the Foundation of Medical Physics at the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley, 1937–1962

5. "I Have Been on Tenterhooks": Wartime Medical Research Council Jaundice Committee Experiments

6. See an Atomic Blast and Spread the Word : Indoctrination at Ground ZeroPART III: Whose Body?

7. Injecting Comatose Patients with Uranium: America's Overlapping Wars Against Communism and Cancer in the 1950's

8. Writing Wilowbrook, Reading Willowbrook: The Recounting of a Medical Experiment

What People are Saying About This

M. Susan Lindee

This volume is a rich, nuanced contribution to our continuing negotiation of the tensions between medical benefit, human subjects, knowledge production, and the power of the state. The case studies are often surprising and provocative. It presents an eye-opening picture of the ambiguity and moral complexity that continue to shape clinical interactions.

M. Susan Lindee, University of Pennsylvania

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