Wagner College anthropology professor Alexa S. Dietrich's first book, “The Drug Company Next Door: Pollution, Jobs, and Community Health in Puerto Rico,” was released today by NYU Press.
Alexa S. Dietrich joined the anthropology faculty at Wagner College in 2007, where she is an assistant professor. She earned her A.B. from Barnard College and her MPH and Ph.D. from Emory University.
Merrill Singer, University of Connecticut — This fascinating and most timely critical medical anthropology study successfully binds two still emergent areas of contemporary anthropological research in the global world: the nature and significant impact of multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers on human social life everywhere, and the contribution of corporations to the fast-paced degradation of our life support system, planet Earth. . . . Focusing on a pharmaceutically-impacted town on the colonized island of Puerto Rico, Dietrich ably demonstrates the value of ethnography carried out in small places in framing the large issues facing humanity.
Lesley A. Sharp, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College — Offers a compelling and thought-provoking account of the politics of recognition in Nocorá Puerto Rico, a municipality where the stench of pollution pervades the air, soil, and water. In Nocorá one lives beneath the shadow of one's corporate `neighbors,’ an imposing complex of pharmaceutical companies that turns a blind eye to the insidious effects of toxic by-products while boasting of their lucrative trade in health elsewhere. Set against the invisibility of chronic suffering, local grassroots activists must always fight to be seen and heard. Here one encounters a lively cast of people who inhabit an environment both tranquil and contaminated. This is a smart and masterful portrayal of the realities of activism and the power of corporate public relations strategies, a convincing ethnography that integrates medical anthropology and political ecology in expert fashion. Every employee of Big Pharma should be required to read this book.