S. Lochlann Jain
The academic literature still tends to take Audre Lorde as the primary feminist theorist of breast cancer, and her The Cancer Journals (1997) remains, nearly three decades out, the definitive word on breast cancer and gender theory. In this article, Jain revisits the cultures and politics of cancer, offering a queer analysis of breast cancer in the U.S.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. Lochlann Jain is an assistant professor of cultural and social anthropology at Stanford University. Professor Jain's research is primarily concerned with the ways in which stories get told about injuries, how they are thought to be caused, and how that matters. Figuring out the political and social significance of these stories has led to the study of law, product design, medical error, and histories of engineering, regulation, corporations, and advertising.
Her widely reviewed book, Injury, (Princeton University Press, 2006) aims to better understand how certain products come to be understood as dangerous, while others do not -- and what these differences can illustrate about differences such as race and gender and historically contingent notions such as responsibility and negligence.
Jain’s current work offers an analysis of the cause and treatment of cancer as a key modality through which American high-tech is experienced and explained.
Her other research interests include extra-legal forms of communications, such as warning signs and medical apologies; queer studies; art and design.
Jain was awarded the Cultural Horizons Prize by the Society for Cultural Anthropology for best article published in the journal Cultural Anthropology in 2004. She was a National Humanities Center Fellow in 2006, and is currently a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.
For more information, please see Lochlann Jain's website.
Link to other relevant CA essay lists: Gender & Sexuality, Health and Medicine
Cultural Anthropology has published several other articles on the stigmatizing effects of health conditions. See, for example, Leslie Butt’s “‘Lipstick Girls’ and ‘Fallen Women’: AIDS and Conspiratorial Thinking in Papua, Indonesia” (2005) and Stacy Leigh Pigg’s “Languages of Sex and AIDS in Nepal: Notes on the Social Production of Commensurability” (2001).
Cultural Anthropology has also published articles on queer, gay, and lesbian topics, including an article by Corinne P. Hayden, “Gender, Genetics, and Generation: Reformulating Biology in Lesbian Kinship” (1995) and a special issue that included several responses to one of David M. Schneider’s final articles, “The Power of Culture: Notes on Some Aspects of Gay and Lesbian Kinship in America Today” (1997).
LINKS FROM THE ESSAY, “CANCER BUTCH”
Annotation of Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals from NYU’s Literature, Arts, and Medicine database
OTHER MULTIMEDIA LINKS
RELATED SCHOLARLY WORKS
Diedrich, Lisa. "Doing Things with Ideas and Affects in the Illness Narratives Of Susan Sontag and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick," in Mary C. Rawlinson and Shannon Lundeen, eds. The Voice of Breast Cancer and Medicine in Bioethics. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2006.
Diedrich, Lisa. "A Bioethics of Failure: Anti-heroic Cancer Narratives," in Margrit Shildrick and Roxanne Mykitiuk, eds. Ethics of the Body: Postconventional Challenges. Boston, MA: The MIT Press, 2005.
Spanier, Bonnie. "Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Feminist Science Studies, Breast Cancer and Activism," In Maralee Mayberry, Banu Subramaniam, and Lisa H. Weasel, eds. Feminist Science Studies: A New Generation. New York, NY: Routledge, 2001.