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Joe Dumit


  • Ph.D., History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz, 1995
  • B.A., Rice University, 1989


Joseph Dumit studies how science and medicine change and how the lives of Americans, including consumers, patients, doctors and scientists also change as the nature of facts and evidence change. His first book, Picturing Personhood: Brains Scans and Biomedical America (Princeton University Press, 2004), looked at the development of PET scan brain imaging and what assumptions about brain anatomy, psychology, and human nature needed to be made in order to conduct experiments, and then how the images circulate through popular culture, courtrooms, and patients' lives. His second book, Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012), focuses on the way clinical trials are designed in ways that grow pharmaceutical treatments in the latter half of the 20th century. He has co-edited three books: with Gary Lee Downey, Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies, (SAR Press), with Robbie Davis-Floyd, Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (Routledge), and with Regula Burri, Biomedicine as Culture (Routledge). He also has written articles about patient experiences, difficult to define illnesses, and the history of medicine, and was the managing editor of Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry for 10 years.

Selected Publications

  • Dumit, J. (2012) Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health, Duke University Press
  • Burrio, R., & Dumit, J. (Eds.) (2008) Biomedicine as Culture: Instrumental Practices, Technoscientific Knowledge, and New Modes of Life, Routledge
  • Dumit, J. (2004) Picturing Personhood: Brains Scans and Biomedical America, Princeton University Press
  • Davis-Floyd, R., & Dumit, J. (Eds.) (1998) Cyborg Babies: From Techno-sex to Techno-tots, Rutledge