Tuesday 28th May, 4pm
Anatomy Museum, King’s College London
6th Floor, King’s Building, Strand Campus, The Strand, London, WC2R 2LS
All are welcome for the London Book Launch of Synthesizing Hope: Matter, Knowledge, and Place in South African Drug Discovery, released this month by the University of Chicago Press. The event will be chaired by Professor Nikolas Rose, and will feature comments by Jenny Reardon, Jarita Holbrook, Ann Kelly, and the author. The audience will be encouraged to join in the discussion, and to continue the conversation over drinks and nibbles.
Anne Pollock (Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London)
Nikolas Rose (Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London)
Jenny Reardon (Sociology, University of California-Santa Cruz)
Jarita Holbrook (Physics, University of the Western Cape)
Ann Kelly (Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College London)
Synthesizing Hope opens up the material and social world of pharmaceuticals by focusing on an unexpected place: iThemba Pharmaceuticals. Founded in 2009 with a name taken from the Zulu word for hope, the small South African startup with an elite international scientific board was tasked with drug discovery for tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria. Anne Pollock uses this company as an entry point for exploring how the location of scientific knowledge production matters, not only for the raw materials, manufacture, licensing, and distribution of pharmaceuticals but also for the making of basic scientific knowledge. Consideration of this case exposes the limitations of global health frameworks that implicitly posit rich countries as the only sites of knowledge production. Analysis of iThemba identifies the problems inherent in global north/south divides at the same time as it highlights what is at stake in who makes knowledge and where. It also provides a concrete example for consideration of the contexts and practices of postcolonial science, its constraints, and its promise. Synthesizing Hopeexplores the many legacies that create conditions of possibility for South African drug discovery, especially the specific form of settler colonialism characterized by apartheid and resource extraction. Paying attention to the infrastructures and laboratory processes of drug discovery underscores the materiality of pharmaceuticals from the perspective of their makers, and tracing the intellectual and material infrastructures of South African drug discovery contributes new insights about larger social, political, and economic orders.