Joanna Radin

I am a historian of biomedical futures. I care about how people have imagined science, technology and medicine will change their lives. This has led me to think and write about global histories of biology, ecology, medicine, technology, and anthropology since 1945; history and anthropology of life and death; biomedical technology and computing; feminist, Indigenous, and queer STS; and science fiction.

All of these themes are present in my current book project, which reconsiders the history of science through the career of Michael Crichton.

At Yale University, I am Associate Professor of History of Medicine and a core member of the Program in History of Science and Medicine. I am also affiliated with the Departments of History, Anthropology and American Studies as well as the Programs in Ethnicity, Race and Migration and Religion and Modernity. For more details, see my CV.

I am co-editor of the Science as Culture series at University of Chicago Press.

Contact me at or @joannaradin on Twitter.


Book cover of Life On Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood

After the atomic bombing at the end of World War II, anxieties about survival in the nuclear age led scientists to begin stockpiling and freezing hundreds of thousands of blood samples from Indigenous communities around the world. These samples were believed to embody potentially invaluable biological information about genetic ancestry, evolution, microbes, and much more. Today, they persist in freezers as part of a global tissue-based infrastructure. In Life on Ice (Chicago 2017), I examine how and why these frozen blood samples shaped the practice known as biobanking.

Book cover of Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (co-edited with Emma Kowal)

In Cryopolitics (MIT 2017), co-edited with Emma Kowal, experts from anthropology, history of science, environmental humanities, and Indigenous studies examine how and why low temperatures have been harnessed to defer individual death through freezing whole human bodies; to defer nonhuman species death by freezing tissue from endangered animals; to defer racial death by preserving biospecimens from Indigenous people; and to defer large-scale human death through pandemic preparedness. The cryopolitical lens, emphasizing the roles of temperature and time, provokes new and important questions about living and dying in the twenty-first century.

Research Articles

Essays and Criticism

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