Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan) and I are organizing an open panel for 4S 2019 in New Orleans, on “Technology, Inequality, and Social Justice.” Paper submissions are open until February 1, 2019. Panel description (#163) and further instructions can be found here: https://www.4s2019.org/accepted-open-panels/
The panel explores different cases of the transnational scientific communication and cooperation involving the two competing Cold War blocks as well as the agents in-between. Socialist countries deemed the transnational and, in the context of the Cold War, trans-ideological scientific communication necessary as a means of acquiring technology while at the same time seeing it as an opportunity to showcase the successes of the socialist science and medicine, thus potentially influencing the Third world. Going beyond the notion of one-way transfer of ideas and technology, the papers will address the nuanced strategies employed in specific attempts to (re)position socialist science and medicine globally: from Michael DeBakey’s surgery-as-diplomacy efforts aimed at a better understanding of the Soviet Union and China by the United States, Hungarian socialist engagement in international health linking the Second and Third world, and an unlikely Yugoslav-American alliance aimed at containing the spread of Lysenkoism in the 1950s.
With Dora Vargha, Vedran Duancic, Heidi Morefield, and Heidi Tworek (chair)
Presentation title:“Profiting from Humanitarianism: Appropriate Technology and Public-Private Partnerships in International Health, 1977-1987”
Abstract:Started in 1977, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health aimed to make diagnostics, drugs, and devices that were radically affordable for the developing world—under one dollar per dose. The only way they could meet this goal was through the creation of public-private partnerships, however their work with the private sector and the profit margins built into their contracts for humanitarian technologies created hostility and suspicion towards them from foreign aid donors. As USAID increasingly contracted out aid projects to nongovernmental organizations, they had to reckon with an apparent conflict between profit-motives and moral imperatives in humanitarian assistance.
I will be delivering the National Library of Medicine's 2nd Annual DeBakey Lecture on May 24th, titled "Transplanting Technology: Dr. Michael DeBakey and Cold War Technology Transfer."
Speculative Futures: A symposium and workshop exploring creative practices in health, technology and medicine in the global South
I will be speaking on "Appropriate Technology, Independent Futures: Building Self-Sufficiency in Southern Africa"