March 29, 2017

Constructing Diagnosis

Kaitlyn Vleming

This talk draws on Kaitlyn’s research on polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as well as other examples to explore how social-cultural anthropologists look at medical diagnoses. Diagnostic categories are situated in particular historical and social contexts (for example, social ideas about gender permeate categories such as “women’s health” or the designation of “male” and “female” hormones). Medical anthropology not only draws our attention to these contexts but also sheds light on the lived experiences of people with various diagnoses.

About the Presenter


Kaitlyn is a second-year medical anthropology student at the University of Toronto supervised by Dr. Krista Maxwell. She is currently conducting a SSHRC-funded research project on polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Her fieldwork is concentrated on the lived experiences of people diagnosed with PCOS in Toronto, including experiences of biomedical healthcare and alternative medicine, with a specific focus on gender identity. Kaitlyn also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in English from U of T.


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