In this Book

summary


In the antebellum South, plantation physicians used a new medical device—the spirometer—to show that lung volume and therefore vital capacity were supposedly less in black slaves than in white citizens. At the end of the Civil War, a large study of racial difference employing the spirometer appeared to confirm the finding, which was then applied to argue that slaves were unfit for freedom. What is astonishing is that this example of racial thinking is anything but a historical relic.

In Breathing Race into the Machine, science studies scholar Lundy Braun traces the little-known history of the spirometer to reveal the social and scientific processes by which medical instruments have worked to naturalize racial and ethnic differences, from Victorian Britain to today. Routinely a factor in clinical diagnoses, preemployment physicals, and disability estimates, spirometers are often “race corrected,” typically reducing normal values for African Americans by 15 percent.

An unsettling account of the pernicious effects of racial thinking that divides people along genetic lines, Breathing Race into the Machine helps us understand how race enters into science and shapes medical research and practice.

Table of Contents

  1. COVER
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. CONTENTS
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. ix-xi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. INTRODUCTION: Measuring Vital Capacity
  2. pp. xiii-xxix
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. “Inventing” the Spirometer: Working-Class Bodies in Victorian England
  2. pp. 1-26
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Black Lungs and White Lungs: The Science of White Supremacy in the Nineteenth-Century United States
  2. pp. 27-54
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. The Professionalization of Physical Culture: Making and Measuring Whiteness
  2. pp. 55-82
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. Progress and Race: Vitality in Turn-of-the-Century Britain
  2. pp. 83-108
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. Globalizing Spirometry: The “Racial Factor” in Scientific Medicine
  2. pp. 109-137
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6. Adjudicating Disability in the Industrial Worker
  2. pp. 139-165
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 7. Diagnosing Silicosis: Physiological Testing in South African Gold Mines
  2. pp. 167-194
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. EPILOGUE: How Race Takes Root
  2. pp. 195-206
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. NOTES
  2. pp. 207-258
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. INDEX
  2. pp. 259-271
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9781452940991
Related ISBN
9780816683574
MARC Record
OCLC
871257790
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-10
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.