Whether through the anxiety of mutually assured destruction or the promise of decolonization throughout Asia and Africa, Cold War politics had a peculiar temporality. In Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood
(University of Chicago Press, 2017), Joanna Radin
explores the conjuncture of time and temperature in Cold War “salvage biology” projects.
Cryobiology, genetic epidemiology, and freezer anthropology constructed a dense and tangled global infrastructure of blood circulation. By following these circuits, Radin weaves a narrative about the Cold War human sciences that takes readers up to present ethical debates about the insufficiency of informed consent and the need to better involve communities whose vital materials have been taken for the sake of biomedical research. This book will be of interest to all historians of science, technology, and medicine, as well as to anthropologists and scholars working in Native American and Indigenous Studies.
Mikey McGovern is a PhD candidate in Princeton University’s Program in the History of Science. He works on computing, quantification, communication, and governance in modern America.