Monday, September 22, 2014 - 12:15pm to 2:00pm
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Room 100F, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

STS Circle at Harvard

Angie Boyce (Harvard, Robert Wood Johnson Fellow) on "Chicken, Egg, or Cook? Foodborne Salmonellosis and Distributed Responsibility"

Sandwich lunches are provided. Please RSVP to by Wednesday at 5PM the week before.

Abstract:   How did we come to eat in the “farm-to-fork continuum,” living in a system/network of distributed risks and responsibilities?  This talk examines this question by focusing on foodborne salmonellosis in historical and comparative perspective.  I draw from STS work on the construction of risk objects and public problems to analyze foodborne salmonellosis, exploring struggles over what kinds of solutions (technical, organizational, social) should be implemented, and how different systems and networks of risk management have been built in different times and places.  More specifically, I will describe three episodes: 1) US salmonella control debates in the 1950s – 1970s and a shift from eradication and feed control to risk reduction in processing and consumer education aimed at home kitchens; 2) different responses to a global pandemic of Salmonella serotype Enteritidis in shell eggs during the 1980s in the UK (poultry vaccination/farm control) and US (source tracing/flock management/egg washing); and 3) how Denmark’s Salmonella-free chicken program is being held up as a possible model for regulatory change in the US, especially in light of increasing public concerns about antibiotic resistance. Historical and comparative lenses help illuminate how alternative distributions of risk and responsibility, and system/network configurations, are possible.
Biography:   Angie Boyce is a 2014-2016 Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University.  She completed her Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University.  Her research examines the enormous infrastructure required to make public health problems visible, controllable, and preventable.  Her dissertation was a historical and ethnographic study of how US public health and regulatory agencies built and used surveillance systems to make national outbreaks of foodborne disease legible, overcoming both the highly distributed nature of the industrialized food system and the fragmented federal system for governing health.  Boyce has also written about FDA food standards and consumer activism (forthcoming, Technology and Culture), as well as the relationship between social values and scientific and regulatory classifications in microbiome science (forthcoming, Science, Technology and Human Values).

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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