STS Colloquium: Monica Brown Nov 29


Monica Brown of the UBC Department of English delivers an STS colloquium talk titled “What Does Hand Washing Mean in the Twenty-First Century?” on Thursday, November 29, 5:00-6:30pm in Buchanan Tower 1197.

In this presentation, I describe some of the means by which public health agencies persuade audiences to alter their hand washing habits. I argue that hand hygiene has been promoted within a framework of public health as a personal responsibility, in which hand washing is presented as an effective way for individuals to participate in risk management and disease prevention. I also critique the tremendous influence of a health habit sometimes taken for granted as a matter either of science or of simple common sense and challenge the limits of hand washing promotion as a panacea for systemic problems in health care and global health.