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Jesse F.  Ballenger
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Jesse F. Ballenger

  • Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society
  • Bioethics
Science, Technology and Society
The Pennsylvania State University
133-A Willard Building


University Park, PA 16802
Email: jfb16@psu.edu
Phone: (814) 865-2223

Education:

  1. Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, 2000.
  2. M.A., Case Western Reserve University, 1994.
  3. B.A., Kent State University, 1989.

Biography:

I teach a wide range of courses in the Science, Technology and Society and Bioethics and Medical Humanities programs.

My scholarship looks at the ways that medical science and practice are involved in the creation and development of categories of difference -- gender, race, age, deviance -- and how such categories shape knowledge, policy, and everyday experience.

In particular, my work has focused on the history of aging, senility and Alzheimer's disease. In 2006, I published Self, Senility and Alzheimer's Disease in Modern America: A History I also co-edited Concepts of Alzheimer Disease: Biomedical, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives (2000), and Treating Dementia: Do We Have a Pill for It? (2009). 

My main current research project explores how the massive investment of financial, institutional, and intellectual capital into the development of drug treatments for dementia by the federal government and private industry since the 1980s shaped the Alzheimer’s field. Understanding the complex origins and implications for ethics and policy of this development is worthwhile in its own right. But it will also contribute to a broader understanding of the emergence of biomedical research as one of the largest, most-powerful and well-funded enterprises in American society after World War II.