Cancer Queer: Towards an Elegiac Politics of Disease

February 10, 2010

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

CCFI Noted Scholar Lecture: Queer<y>ing Health with Pride

Dr. Lochlann Jain, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Cancer (as a disease and a culture) is a central trauma of Canadian and American culture. Yet, even with the daily barrage of probabilistic statistics, cancer is often taken to be exceptional. “Why me?” In this talk Dr. Jain examines cancer’s disguises, specifically examining the gender and sexuality of such disguise. While disease identities and politics tend to be dismissed by scientists as “merely cultural,” she will discuss how cancer culture and cancer science are intertwined. Cancer culture’s tropes, such as hope, survivorship, and promises of “the cure,” centrally inform not only how science is done, but which science is done, how it is justified, and which chemicals are pumped into patient bodies. Thus, an explanation of why cancer treatments and survival have barely improved in the last thirty years requires a better understanding of cancer culture.

Co-sponsored by:
Centre for Culture, Identity and Education, Critical Studies in Sexuality, College for Interdisciplinary Studies, Department of Anthropology, Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies, Centre for the Study of the Internationalization of Curriculum Studies, and UBC Office of Access and Diversity.