Helena Pycior
Department of History
End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2002-03

Helena Pycior My project as a Center fellow focused on the analysis of the metaphor of the “war on breast cancer.” Although loosely linked to my longstanding research interests (the history of race as a factor in medicine and the history of the diagnosis and treatment of post-mastectomy lymphedema), this was an essentially new project. During the first part of the academic year, 2002-2003, I moved gradually from identifying and collecting primary sources to deciding on intended audiences. Participation in Center events (especially those dealing with war and gender and the Holocaust) and wide reading across the history, anthropology, and sociology of medicine as well as the medical humanities helped me to elaborate an appropriate interdisciplinary approach to this new project and my earlier work on lymphedema. As the academic year ended, I completed a draft of a paper, “Women Voice Their Feelings about War: Analyzing the Military Metaphor in Breast Cancer Pathographies.” I also came away from my year at the Center with a better understanding of the complexity of the history of post-mastectomy lymphedema in the United States, which has led me to begin revising an earlier paper on the topic.

Following the public relations efforts of Center Assistant Director Bill Turner, my Center project and my research on the history of lymphedema were featured in an article, “Taking on Breast Cancer,” published in UWM Today (Winter 2003). My accomplishments of the academic year, 2002-2003, include three presentations (Center for Instructional and Professional Development conferences, UWM, 2/28/03 and 4/4/03, and Office of Professional and Instrucional Development workshop, UW-System, Madison, 3/28/03) on a research project on the scholarship of teaching and learning for which I collected data during the academic year, 2001-2002. At the meeting of NILAS (Nature in Legend and Story) in August 2003, I will be giving a paper that combines my work on the history of breast cancer with my research on human-animal relations. Presently in outline form, the paper comes directly from my year at the Center, when I found in the work of Jacqueline Susann (who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1960s) not only reflections on breast cancer but also a somewhat anthropological study of the human-animal bond as it was evolving in the United States of the late 20th century.

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Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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  Last updated 9/2/08 by EMW