Divided Bodies: The Practice and Politics of Lyme Disease in the United States


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Sociocultural Anthropology


This dissertation examines the controversy that surrounds the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease in the United States. In particular, it investigates why, in a new era of ‘evidence-based medicine,’ there are two emergent ‘standards of care’ for Lyme disease and, more critically, how these standards of care are intimately connected to understandings of political power and the environment. Drawing from eighteen months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork among Lyme patients, physicians, and scientists throughout the northeastern US, this dissertation will shed light on shifts in competing claims to how the infected body should be known medically, regulated politically, and protected environmentally.