University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies
My research focuses on the anthropology of the biochemical sciences, global pharmaceutical politics, and postcolonial engagements with intellectual property and the politics of innovation and appropriation. These themes animated my 2003 book, When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico, which examined the consequences of novel drug discovery partnerships linking global drug companies, Latin American research scientists, and indigenous communities. A key theme emerging from that work was how new deployments of the idioms of intellectual property serve as engines of both privatization and public-ization, or the reconfiguration of notions of the public, the commons, and the public domain.
Subsequent projects have taken up this concern, in the context of the ethics of benefit-sharing in clinical trials (Taking as Giving), the ways that liberal concerns over piracy and improper copying continue to animate liberatory projects undertaken in the name of the public domain (The Proper Copy), and an investigation of how appeals to the popular and populism may disrupt liberal epistemologies organized around public and private.
My current research is an ethnographic investigation of the recent emergence of generic drugs in Mexico, and the complex relationships - simultaneously biochemical, commercial, and political - currently unfolding in their name. Grounding my concern with a politics of access to medicines here is an interest in using the complex materialities of generic drugs to rethink the substance of pharmaceutical politics and our analytics of value, sameness, and difference.
last updated: February 22nd, 2016