Crafting Immunity: Working Histories of Clinical Immunology, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Crafting Immunity

Working Histories of Clinical Immunology, 1st Edition

By Jennifer Keelan

Edited by Kenton Kroker


318 pages

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Paperback: 9781138265295
pub: 2016-11-15
Hardback: 9780754657590
pub: 2008-03-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315259055
pub: 2017-03-02
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Immunity is as old as illness itself, yet historians have only just begun to take up the challenge of reconstructing the modern transformation of attempts to protect against disease. Crafting Immunity assembles in one volume the most recent efforts of an international group of scholars to place the diverse practices of immunity in their historical contexts. It is this diversity that provides the book with its greatest source of strength. Collectively, the papers in this volume suggest that it was the craft-like, small-scale, and local conditions of clinical medicine that turned the immunity of individuals and populations into biomedical objects. That is to say, the modern conception of immunity was at least as much the product of the work of healing as it was the systematic result of discoveries about the immune system. Working outside the narrow confines of laboratory histories, Crafting Immunity is the first attempt to set the problems of immunity into a variety of social, technological, institutional and intellectual contexts. It will appeal not only to historians and sociologists of health, but also to social and cultural historians interested in the biomedical creation of modern health regimens.


’All in all, the book is a very welcome addition to the historiography of immunology. With well edited papers, illustrations and an index, it is also very useable. It reminds us that in studying the history of medicine it is often rewarding to focus on what people do rather than what they write.’ Medical History

Table of Contents

Contents: Editors' introduction; Part I Reason and Risk: Making sense of vaccination c.1800, Andrea Rusnock; Risk, efficacy and viral attenuation in debates over smallpox vaccination in Montreal, 1870-1877, Jennifer Keelan. Part II The Conundrum of Allergy: 'A private line to medicine': the clinical and laboratory contours of allergy in the early 20th century, Mark Jackson; Germs, vaccine and the rise of allergy, Carla C. Keirns. Part III Some Tools of the Trade: Neutralising flu: 'immunological devices' and the making of a virus disease, Michael Bresalier; Ceatures of reason? Picturing viruses at the Pasteur Institute during the 1920s, Kenton Kroker; Immunology in the clinics: reductionism, holism or both?, Ilana Löwy; Antitoxin and anatoxine: the League of Nations and the Institut Pasteur, 1920-1939, Pauline M.H. Mazumdar. Part IV Insiders, Immunity and Identity after World War II: Molecular surveillance: a history of radioimmunoassays, Angela N.H. Creager; Emerging paradigm, emerging disease: molecular immunology and AIDS in the 1980s, Victoria A. Harden; Conceptualising the maternal-fetal relationship in reproductive immunology, Moira Howes; Canadian vaccine research, production and international regulation: Connaught Laboratories and smallpox vaccines, 1962-1980, Christopher J. Rutty; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Kenton Kroker is Assistant Professor in the Division of Natural Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering at the York University, Toronto, Canada. Jennifer Keelan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada. Pauline M.H. Mazumdar is Professor Emeritus, IHPST, University of Toronto, Canada.

About the Series

The History of Medicine in Context

An interest in medicine is one of the constants that re-occurs throughout history. From the earliest times, man has sought ways to combat the myriad of diseases and ailments that afflict the human body, resulting in a number of evolving and often competing philosophies and practices whose repercussions spread far beyond the strictly medical sphere.

For more than a decade The History of Medicine in Context series has provided a unique platform for the publication of research pertaining to the study of medicine from broad social, cultural, political, religious and intellectual perspectives. Offering cutting-edge scholarship on a range of medical subjects that cross chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, the series consistently challenges received views about medical history and shows how medicine has had a much more pronounced effect on western society than is often acknowledged. As medical knowledge progresses, throwing up new challenges and moral dilemmas, The History of Medicine in Context series offers the opportunity to evaluate the shifting role and practice of medicine from the long perspective, not only providing a better understanding of the past, but often an intriguing perspective on the present.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General