Research Seminar December 10th: Jennifer Fraser - Rendering Inuit Cancer 'Visible': Autopsy, Pathology and Nosology in Arctic Cancer Registration

Research Seminar December 10th: Jennifer Fraser - Rendering Inuit Cancer 'Visible': Autopsy, Pathology and Nosology in Arctic Cancer Registration. The seminar will take place in Gilman 449 at 18:00.

06 December 2018

Jennifer Fraser

Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto

Rendering Inuit Cancer 'Visible': Autopsy, Pathology and Nosology in Arctic Cancer Registration

In August of 1977 Australian pathologist David W Butine delivered a presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia in Melbourne, Victoria. In this presentation, he used the diagnostic category of “Eskimoma,” to describe a unique set of salivary gland tumors he had observed over the past five years within Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre. Only found amongst Inuit patients, these tumors were said to have unique histological, clinical and epidemiological features and were unlike any other disease category that had ever been encountered before. This paper will chart the historical trajectory of the “Eskimoma,” focusing particularly on the institutional, political and social contexts that provided the impetus and proper channels for the emergence of this new nosological category. Through highlighting the infrastructures and technologies that were essential to making the idea of Inuit cancer “visible,” to the pathologist, epidemiologist and to society at large, this paper will discuss how information extracted from Indigenous bodies helped transform ideas about northern cancer rates into an identifiable pathology. 

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