Useful Bodies Humans in the Service of Medical Science in the Twentieth Century

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Edited by Jordan Goodman, Anthony McElligott, and Lara Marks. Though notoriously associated with Germany, human experimentation in the name of science has been practiced in other countries, as well, both before and after the Nazi era. The use of unwitting or unwilling subjects in experiments designed to test the effects of radiation and disease on the human body emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, when the rise of the modern, coercive state and the professionalization of medical science converged. Useful Bodies explores the intersection of government power and medical knowledge in revealing studies of human experimentation—germ warfare and jaundice tests in Great Britain; radiation, malaria, and hepatitis experiments in the U.S.; and nuclear fallout trials in Australia. These examples of medical abuse illustrate the extent to which living human bodies have been "useful" to democratic states and emphasize the need for intense scrutiny and regulation to prevent future violations. Jordan Goodman is an honorary research fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London. Anthony McElligott is founding professor of history at the University of Limerick and director of the Centre for Historical Research. Lara Marks is a visiting senior research associate at Cambridge University and an honorary senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.