Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies
Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies

Metabolic Syndrome and Genealogies of Racism in Bioscience

Professor Anthony Ryan Hatch

Anthony Ryan Hatch is an assistant professor of Science in Society at Wesleyan University. His research investigates how systems of race and gender shape the technological production, institutional uses, and cultural meanings of biomedical knowledge about human health. His research is published in the journals Issues in Race and Society and Criminal Justice Studies; Routledge Handbook of Science, Technology, and Society; Mattering: Feminism, Science, and Materialism; 50 Years After Deinstititutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities. You can also watch his 2016 Wesleyan Thinks Big talk, titled On Serving Others: Labor and Justice in the New Guilded Age. For more details about his transformative work, refer to the full bio here

Hatch's new book, Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), will be the subject of his TILTS talk. Blood Sugar centers on the rising popularity of the term "metabolic syndrome" in biomedical research to describe a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. An estimated sixty million Americans are well on the way to being diagnosed with it, many of them people of color. Hatch examines how medical researchers who use metabolic syndrome to explain racial inequalities in medicine are framing race as a fixed and biological feature — without taking into account social and economic inequalities — and how doing so results in drug treatments and nutritional health interventions that perpetuate a new form of "colorblind scientific racism."

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