Faculty News: Food Allergies and a Paraguayan Gateway

Danya Glabau wrote an article for the open-access journal Medicine Anthropology Theory in which she tracks the moral life of epinephrine auto-injectors, devices that people with food allergies and their caretakers use to administer emergency medication to stop serious allergic reactions. 

“The first time it occurred to me to think of epinephrine auto-injectors as having a ‘moral life’, I was sitting in a middle school auditorium in a well-to-do suburb in the United States in 2014. A well-known allergist from a major regional teaching hospital was giving a lecture to a group of school nurses. Echoing current medical consensus (Sicherer and Sampson 2010), he considered epinephrine auto-injectors to be the only treatment for anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction often experienced by people with food allergies. During his talk, the allergist repeated, ‘anaphylaxis is epinephrine’. The implication of his statement was that the only appropriate technical response to an allergic reaction was interventional treatment with epinephrine, provided to patients as expensive, branded commodities called epinephrine auto-injectors. For many physicians, prescribing epinephrine for acute reactions is the extent of the biomedical response to the condition, despite the many lifestyle challenges that it poses and the many steps that can be taken to prevent a reaction in the first place.”
Christine Smallwood wrote “A Paraguayan Gateway,” a short story for VICE Magazine’s December Fiction Issue. A woman in Buenos Aires starts sleeping with and effete American. Together they travel to Paraguay, where the man’s naïveté and weakness is laid bare. 

“I met David a party at a bar called Milión. It was the kind of place I hated, an anonymous Eurozone of sleek global character too desperate to impress. They played slinky electronic music and the light fixtures were silver orbs and the seating was black leather and none of the furniture provided any back support. We could have been anywhere, except for the women. They were flawless. Everyone knows that Buenos Aires is the plastic surgery capital of the world.”

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