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What contemporary prostate angst tells us about how we understand masculinity, aging, and sexuality.


We are all suffering an acute case of prostrate angst. Men worry about their own prostates and those of others close to them; women worry about the prostates of the men they love. The prostate—a gland located directly under the bladder—lurks on the periphery of many men's health issues, but as an object of anxiety it goes beyond the medical, affecting how we understand masculinity, aging, and sexuality. In A Cultural Biography of the Prostate, I investigate what we think the prostate is and what we use the prostate to think about, examining it in historical, cultural, social, and medical contexts.


Our ways of talking about, writing about, imagining, and imaging the prostate are a mess of entangled relationships. This book describes current biomedical approaches, reports on the “discovery” of the prostate in the sixteenth century and its later appearance as both medical object and discursive trope, and explores present-day diagnostic practices for benign prostate hyperplasia—which transform a process (urination) into a thing (the prostate). Turning to the most anxiety-provoking prostate worry, prostate cancer, it discusses PSA screening and the vulnerabilities it awakens (or sometimes silences) and then considers the presence of the absent prostate—how the prostate continues to affect lives after it has been removed in the name of health.

Refracting bodies through technology

Technologies refract discourses. They articulate silent understandings, highlight cultural values, emphasize subtle ideas. Studying technological artefacts can help trace the discursive contours within which we live.


And give us words to challenge them.


I research technologies and material discursive practices of the body, human and robotic. Employing theoretical tools from feminist technoscience studies, I find my academic home at the juncture of STS and medical sociology. I work with fantastic colleagues at the Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, in a research seminar group called Bodies, Knowledge and Subjectivity, the Bodies Hub, and at the Center for Medical Humanities and Bioethics. Feel free to check out my publications here or contact me by post or email.


On the web, in other places

My web page at work.

CV - pdf

An interview on Irish radio, Newstalk, Moncrieff.

The MIT Press Reader selection: The paradox of a man's most feared test, the PSA.

A review of A Cultural Biography of the Prostate by Jonatan Samuelsson in VK (in Swedish)

A review of A Cultural Biography of the Prostate by Dafydd Wood, Northshire Bookstore (Vermont).

An English podcast from SCAS about A Cultural Biography of the Prostate 8 Sept 2021.

A Swedish podcast about my prostate research, Fakultet: Ska jag ta PSA prov?

Talk about the prostate for the Edinburgh Sceptics/Edinburgh Science Festival 29 June 2021.

Discussion about the prostate for the Gothenburg Science Festival (in Swedish), 16 April 2021. (also as a podcast)

Webinar about 'A Cultural Biography of the Prostate' at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 24 March 2021.

Presentation about Refracting social norms through AI, at AI Ethics Seminar, Chalmers, 16 Feb 2021

Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Podcast about bodies and embodiment, with colleagues Lisa Guntram and Kristin Zeiler (in Swedish)

News about our new research project on robots and trust, with Katherine Harrison (in Swedish)

A short info film for young men about the prostate, in collaboration with Stockholms mansmottagning:

...in English: What is the prostate?

...in Swedish: Vad är prostatan?

Some press about my research: 

Just a Tablet in the Linköping University Alumni magazine (p.16-17)

...and in Swedish Bara ett piller, eller?

Därför ör färgen på viagratabletten blå in Läkemedelsvärlden

Vad styr vilka läkemedel vi använder? Linköping University News

Den Säljande Sjukdomen in Unionen. Farmaci & Hälsa, March 2018 (p 25)

A presentation about Glocal Pharma at 'Transitional States' in London, 17 May 2018

A podcast from the 2018 Forskarmöten - an ontology and epistemology exercise (in Swedish)

A brief blog on Curie about doing a PhD in Sweden.

An odd poem about gynaecological simulators at Christmas time.

An interview about Viagra in Sweden, on Studio Ett (in Swedish).

An interview about the new book Gendering Drugs, on New Books Network.

A radio programme about the Swedish Viagra Man, in Swedish.

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