The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science (Hardcover)

The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science By S. M. Reid-Henry Cover Image

The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science (Hardcover)


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After Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, his second declaration, after socialism, was that Cuba would become a leader in international science. In biotechnology he would be proven right and, today, Cuba counts a meningitis B vaccine and cutting-edge cancer therapies to its name. But how did this politically and geographically isolated country make such impressive advances? Drawing on a unique ethnography, and blending the insights of anthropology, sociology, and geography, The Cuban Cure shows how Cuba came to compete with U. S. pharmaceutical giants—despite a trade embargo and crippling national debt.

            In uncovering what is distinct about Cuban biomedical science, S. M. Reid-Henry examines the forms of resistance that biotechnology research in Cuba presents to the globalization of western models of scientific culture and practice. He illustrates the epistemic, social, and ideological clashes that take place when two cultures of research meet, and how such interactions develop as political and economic circumstances change. Through a novel argument about the intersection of socioeconomic systems and the nature of innovation, The Cuban Cure presents an illuminating study of politics and science in the context of globalization.

Simon Reid-Henry is lecturer in the Department of geography at Queen Mary, University of London.

Product Details ISBN: 9780226709178
ISBN-10: 0226709175
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: December 15th, 2010
Pages: 216
Language: English
“[The Cuban Cure] reads like a political thriller for intellectuals.”
— William Ventres

“[The Cuban Cure] will appeal to any student of the history and geography of science.”
— J. A. Hewlett

“Reid-Henry provides a fascinating inquiry into the largely unexplored and important topic of Cuba’s emergence as a major player on the global biotechnological and larger medical research/services scene.”
— H. Michael Erisman, Indiana State University

“A stunning interrogation of the making of a scientific culture in an altogether unlikely spot on the fringes of the West’s technological consciousness —late-twentieth-century Cuba. Skillfully combining the social, the spatial, and the temporal, S. M. Reid-Henry delivers a gripping analysis of Castro’s biomedical adventure, its runaway triumphs, and its distinctive moral economy. The implications, of course, spiral far beyond the particulars of Cuban biotech. Never again can we take as obvious or unproblematic the geographical adjectives that are appended to scientific enterprises.”—David N. Livingstone, Queen's University Belfast

— David N. Livingstone

“How can one small country possibly make a unique contribution to the vast global enterprise of biomedicine? Is it possible to operate outside the norms and standards of Western science? In this remarkable book, S. M. Reid-Henry traces how Cuban scientists developed a distinctive and evolving practice, both challenging established forms and adapting to changing circumstances. Rich in critical insight and ethnographic observation, The Cuban Cure will be essential reading for all those concerned with the political and economic geography of the sciences today.”—Andrew Barry, University of Oxford

— Andrew Barry

“S. M. Reid-Henry is an excellent storyteller and The Cuban Cure is a fascinating tale of Cuba’s creation of a biotechnology industry against all odds and in the service of national development. His thorough research and wide-ranging use of theory to support his arguments situate the Cuban case in a global context. There is much to learn from The Cuban Cure. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the history and geography of science, science policy, and social and economic development.”—Julie Feinsilver, author of Healing the Masses:  Cuban Health Politics At Home and Abroad

— Julie Feinsilver