full name / name of organization: 
Leslie Hinkson and Nadine Ehlers
contact email: 

As the cost of health care increases in the U.S., individuals and entire communities are faced with how to deal with the often crushing debt that comes with lack of access to quality preventive care, the inability to access affordable health insurance to cover care, and environmental conditions that contribute to a litany of chronic physical and mental health ailments. Lower-income minority communities are at greatest risk of bearing a disproportionate level of the disease burden in this country as well as the ensuing debt associated with caring for these illnesses. Some would argue that this debt negatively influences the ways in which our society assigns meaning and value to the lives of these individuals and communities.
The racial health disparities that have arisen from centuries of economic, environmental, social, and political inequality have resulted in billions of dollars targeted towards research, development, and marketing of race-based pharmaceuticals and other treatments that focus on individual bodies as opposed to approaches that focus on structural impediments to improved health for these communities. Yet, as far back as the early 20th century, DuBois demonstrated that health disparities between Whites and Blacks were driven by the poorer economic, social, and environmental conditions faced by the latter group as opposed to biological differences between the races. If race is indeed a biological fiction, what explains the increased focus on race-based medicine in the past two decades?
This session focuses on the political economy of race-based medicine in the U.S. As such, it seeks papers exploring the underlying logics, consequences, and ethics of the push towards race-based medicine, whether in the form of targeted drugs, race-based biomedical hotspotting, or other race-specific healthcare protocols. Does race-based medicine itself impose an additional debt burden to the communities it targets? How might such a push further entangle the nation's Black and Brown subjects in a web of debt and indebtedness that increasingly contributes to their economic and social disenfranchisement? Does this result in a concomitant moral debt on the part of our government to its minority subjects?

Please submit paper abstracts 350-500 words to Leslie Hinkson at: by January 19, 2013.

In your submission, please include
• Paper Title (maximum of 15 words per title)
• Contact and biographical information including: first name, last name, affiliation, e-mail address, and a 350 word biographical statement

Further information on the American Studies Association meeting can be found at:
Information on paper and session submissions can be found at: