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Celina Callahan-Kapoor

Senior Lecturer of Medicine, Health, and Society

Celina Callahan-Kapoor’s research considers how identity and belonging are formed through ongoing interactions between popular media, expert knowledge, and bodies. Her dissertation, Disidentification with Diabetes: Diabetic Publics in the US/Mexico Borderlands, focused on the depiction of the “diabetes epidemic” in the south Texas/Mexico borderlands, a region where the rates of diagnosed type-2 diabetes are estimated to be between 15% and 35% of the population. Specifically, she focused on how the local Mexican-American population responded to the depiction of their region as “the fattest” and the “the most obese” in the US. She traced people’s responses to a documentary about their region, Diabetesville, USA; a reality television show Supersize vs. Superskinny; to Gallup Polls; and to epidemiological findings that pinned “fatness” and “obesity” to “Mexican culture.” She found that although these multiple forms of media were circulated in attempts to help people recognize their risk of diabetes, they had the opposite effect: whether or not they were diagnosed with diabetes, people interpreted the media as depicting others. Her most recent publication, “Chronic Subjunctivity, or, How Physicians Use Diabetes and Insomnia to Manage Futures in the United States,” addresses the issue of prognostication, or predictions of the future, in allopathic medicine.

She is beginning work on her book, tentatively entitled, Humiliation of the Particular: Publicity and the Ever-Present Body as Text.

At MHS, Callahan-Kapoor teaches Politics of Health, Theories of the Body, and one upper-level seminar per year. In all of her classes, students engage in collaborative knowledge production, such as online encyclopedias and nontraditional products, such as video papers.