The Biomedical Empire: Lessons Learned from The COVID Pandemic

APR 09, 2021 | 12:00 PM



The Graduate Center
Online event


April 09, 2021: 12:00 PM




Ph.D. Program in Sociology



Professor Barbara Katz Rothman will be giving a talk on her new book, The Biomedical Empire: Lessons Learned from The COVID Pandemic  (Stanford 2021).

About the Book

We are all citizens of the Biomedical Empire, though few of us know it, and even fewer understand the extent of its power. Critiques of biopower and the “medical industrial complex” have not gone far enough, and Barbara Katz Rothman asserts that the medical industry is nothing short of an imperial power. Factors as fundamental as one’s citizenship and sex identity—drivers of our access to basic goods and services—rely on approval and legitimation by biomedicine. Katz Rothman shows that biomedicine has the key elements of an imperial power: economic leverage, the faith of its citizens, and governmental rule. She investigates the Western colonial underpinnings of the empire, and its rapid intrusion into everyday life especially at the ‘gates of life,’ the realms of birth and death. This short book makes the most of this pandemic moment: laying out what the Biomedical Empire is, how biomedicine has become an Imperial power, and what some of the key consequences have been.  While much of the focus will be on the American situation, the argument that biomedicine has become an imperial power is inherently transnational.

This event is open to the public.

Register HERE to receive the Zoom link.