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Maximum Prescriptions: Growing Health and Happiness through Facts and Pharmaceuticals

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Joseph Dumit

Joseph Dumit

Director of Science and Technology Studies, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis

How can health be considered a market to be grown, and are there limits to it? This presentation examines some of the forces driving research in health, especially the turn toward risk reduction, mass prevention, and life-long chronic treatments. By looking at how the pharmaceutical industry struggles with defining health, it shows how market size comes to play an critical role in our changing understanding of public health and the continual growth of pharmaceutical consumption.


Joseph Dumit is director of science and technology studies and professor of anthropology at the University of California Davis. He is the author of Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke UP, 2012) and Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004). Dumit has also co-edited Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies; Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots; and Biomedicine as Culture. He was associate editor of Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry for 10 years. He is a founding member of the Humanities Innovation Lab and is currently studying how immersive 3D visualization platforms are transforming science. He has begun work on a new project on the history of flow charts, cognitive science, and paranoid computers.

Assigned Reading

Joseph Dumit, Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012)


A reception will be held at 5:00 pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

Joseph Dumit event poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public