IHPST Jennifer Fraser publish article in the July 2021 issue of Technology and Culture

November 2, 2021 by Adriana Leviston

Jennifer Fraser, "Seeing Infrared: Breast Cancer, Inuit, and the Extractive Colonality of Disease Distributions and Diagnostic Imaging Technologies," Technology and Culture 62 (3): 685-708.
In this article, Jen considers how epidemiology has functioned as a form of resource extraction by tracing the work of Dr. Ray Newton Lawson, the founder of breast thermography and one of the first researchers to track breast cancer incidence within circumpolar Canada. By showing how Lawson was able to transform his ideas and observations about Inuit breast cancer risk into something medically, professionally, and financially useful, this article highlights the politics of epidemiological knowledge production, and the long-standing tendency of researchers to view Indigenous lands and bodies as “raw materials” to be exploited. It also draws attention to the enduring impact of Lawson’s research, as his new ways of representing northern disease patterns and breast tumor tissue have had long-lasting effects on how medical professionals and health systems “see” breast cancer and decide who should (and should not) have access to cancer screening technologies and other forms of preventative care.