Biography

Kristin Peterson
Associate Professor

Ph.D., Rice University, 2004
political economy,  African studies, science and medicine, Nigeria and West Africa, postcolonial theory, Black political thought; pharmaceuticals, markets, theories of capital, intellectual property law, clinical research, AIDS, security studies, NGOs and humanitarianism, feminism, ethnographic methods

SBSG 3336 | 949-824-9652
kris@uci.edu

RESEARCH

My research and writing are concerned with theories of capital and property; “popular” economies, trade, and markets; health, science, and medicine studies; and postcolonial theory. I am especially interested in bringing medical anthropology and science and technology studies in conversation with African Studies and postcolonial iterations of political economy.

My first book, Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2014), describes a once thriving brand name pharmaceutical market in Nigeria that transformed into one of the world’s worst fake (and inefficacious) drug problems. Drawing on the stories and lives of industry executives, pharmaceutical market traders, industry and academic pharmacists, drug marketers, narcotics traders, and regulatory officials, I describe the making of drug chemistries and market dynamics in the aftermath of 1980s liberalization. I particularly focus on the intertwined nature of pharmaceutical industry speculation and speculative practices found in Nigerian drug markets. Both must anticipate immense market volatility while managing new risks and chronic uncertainty. In tying market actors to both local and transcontinental economic strategies, the book resituates how we think about market making and non-equilibrium theories of neoliberalism in the postcolony and beyond.

With Morenike O. Folayan (Obafemi Awolowo University), a book manuscript, The Trials and Tribulations of Clinical Research in Africa, is in-progress. Our focus is on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) HIV prevention technologies that were designed and funded by U.S. federal government programs, international HIV prevention research consortiums, and international social marketing firms. We examine African debates on ethics and clinical research that interface with market logics and extensive trial failure.

A future third project examines the relationship between security (pertaining to oil and terrorism) and global health (pertaining to AIDS) in West Africa. I am particularly focusing on the U.S. President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which was launched in Nigeria and other African countries. This project traces how HIV intervention logics are born out of U.S. Presidents Clinton and Bush II’s foreign policy rationales. Specifically, PEPFAR tied together US foreign health policy with security policy to Africa. The project investigates how several forms of privatization including endless war, non-governmental managed health care, clinical research, and humanitarianism make up new U.S. security logics.