A woman blows into the spirometer at a Mashavu camp at the Children and Youth Empowerment Center in Nyeri, Kenya. Photo credit: Khanjan Mehta

Breathing Race Into the Machine

‘When you press the button, you’re actually making the idea of race and racial difference’ Lundy Braun

We are publishing this podcast in the middle of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests when uncovering racism in medicine could not be more urgent. The appalling disparity in the severity of COVID19 in people of colour compared to white people demonstrates how structural racism is embedded in our biological models and healthcare systems.

Lundy Braun explores these issues in her 2014 book ‘Breathing Race Into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics’ which uncovers an astonishing case study of the subtle and invisible ways that racism gets into scientific knowledge. She is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Africana Studies at Brown University in the United States.

This podcast combines highlights from a talk that Lundy gave at the University of Bristol in May 2018 and a conversation exploring the issues in more depth.

During the podcast Lundy references the following

Lundy’s book is ‘Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics’ (2014)

Further reading

The featured image is by Khanjan Mehta on Flickr

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