[SydPhil] FW: Seminar Hannah Landecker - Antibiotic Resistance and the Biology of History

Debbie Castle debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Mon Jul 24 10:27:10 AEST 2017

Dear All
You are all very welcome to attend the first presentation  in the Semester Two HPS Research Seminar Series.

[The University of Sydney]


Antibiotic Resistance and the Biology of History

History and Philosophy of Science / Biopolitics of Science Research Network


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Hannah Landecker (bio<http://www.sociology.ucla.edu/faculty/hannah-landecker>) University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

5.30-7pm, 31 July 2017

CCANESA boardroom, Madsen Building, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Beginning in the 1940s, mass production of antibiotics involved the industrial scale growth of microorganisms to harvest their metabolic products. Unfortunately, the use of antibiotics selects for and drives resistance at answering scale. In this talk I will discuss the history of the scientific and medical study of antibiotic resistance, focusing on the realization that individual therapies targeted at single pathogens in individual bodies are environmental events affecting bacterial evolution. In turning to biological manifestations of antibiotic use, medicine and microbiology today are staying the material outcomes of their own previous concepts and practices. Archival work with stored soil and clinical samples produces a record that could be called 'the biology of history': the physical registration of human history in bacterial life. The phenomena of antibiotic resistance challenge traditional divisions between human social history and natural history; the particular case of antibiotic resistance in war will be used to illustrate the importance of understanding both the materiality of history and the historicity of matter in theories and concepts of life today.

Hannah Landecker holds a joint appointment in the life and social sciences at UCLA, where she is the Director of the Institute for Society and Genetics, and a Professor in the Department of Sociology. The Institute for Society and Genetics is an interdisciplinary unit at UCLA committed to cultivating research and pedagogy at the interface of the life and human sciences, and houses the Human Biology and Society undergraduate major. Landecker, a historian and sociologist of science, studied cell and developmental biology before going on to receive her PhD in Science and Technology Studies from MIT in 2000. She is the author of Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies (Harvard UP, 2007), which won the Suzanne J. Levinson Prize for best book in the history of the life sciences from the History of Science Society, as well as many articles on the history of cell biology spanning topics from the development of time-lapse microcinematography to the tale of chemically defined media in the twentieth century. Recently her research has turned toward the history and social study of metabolism and epigenetics, including the human uses of microbial metabolism to
make nutrients and antibiotics.


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