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Robert Aronowitz

Robert Aronowitz

History
University of Pennsylvania
Fellow, 2021-22

Robert Aronowitz will spend the year working on a book tentatively titled Lost in Translation: the Highly Intervened-in Body and the Challenges to Judgement. The project explains how the gap between what is known in aggregate and the medical decisions facing individuals has widened in the past century. Aronowitz is particularly interested in how the increased amount and power of medical interventions have complicated judging what works and is safe.  The project focuses on clinician theorists of judgement and prognosis and case studies of past conundrums.  Aronowitz hopes to contribute to a better understanding of longstanding challenges made acutely visible in the current pandemic, for example why we have been so ill prepared to deal with the virus’ differential impact on individuals and groups.

Aronowitz is a physician and an historian of medicine whose research has focused on the contested meanings often attached to disease.  He is the Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences and professor of the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of Making Sense of Illness: Science, Society, and Disease (Cambridge University Press, 1999); Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society (Cambridge University Press, 2013); and Risky Medicine: Our Quest to Cure Fear and Uncertainty (Chicago University Press, 2015).  For more information about his work, visit https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~aronowit/