Jenny Bangham

Visiting Scholar (Jun 2015-Aug 2016)

PhD, University of Cambridge

I am a historian of twentieth-century science and technology, and my research deals with the practices and technologies through which medical and research communities produce knowledge about human life. My current book project examines how in the mid-twentieth century the field of human genetics was shaped by blood group research and, by extension, bureaucratic technologies of public health, colonial and Cold War politics, and changing standards in the study of race. By following how blood groups were produced and used—in transfusion centres, hospitals, university laboratories and anthropological field sites—the project traces the practices and politics that made humans 'genetic' and genetics into a form of knowledge relevant to human life. The book is based on my dissertation 'Blood Groups and the Rise of Human Genetics in Mid-Twentieth Century Britain' (University of Cambridge, 2014), which received the Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize for a dissertation or book on the history of the life sciences, from the Société de Physique et d’Histoire Naturelle, Switzerland.

A principal theme of my book is the epistemic and practical functions of administrative tools in science, particularly inscriptions. Broader issues relating to the administrative tools of human genetics are also discussed in a 13-paper special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, which I co-edited with Soraya de Chadarevian. 

Another area of interest is in the functions and consequences of visibility and invisibility of people and processes that produce scientific knowledge. Raising themes of identity, justice, narrative and inscription—including in our own practices as historians—Judith Kaplan and I recently developed these topics in the context of our workshop: ‘(In)visible Labour: Knowledge production in the human sciences’. The essays from that workshop will be published as an MPIWG preprint in 2016.

Before turning to history of science, I obtained a doctorate in biology at University College London and worked as a geneticist in the University of Edinburgh. My PhD dissertation in history of science was funded by the Wellcome Trust and carried out in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge.  


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Blood Groups and the Rise of Human Genetics in the Mid-Twentieth Century


Epistemologies of Heritable Disease Classifications in the Early 1950s


Selected Publications

Past Events


Unusual Lives: Historicizing Life as a Problem of Knowledge


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Blood Groups and the Postwar Rise of Human Genetics

Colloquium: Historisches Seminar der Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

"Rare blood and unruly lives: transfusion, paper and genetics in the mid-twentieth century"

Invited lecture: University of Manchester, UK

"Rare blood and unruly lives: transfusion, paper and genetics in the mid-twentieth century"

Invited lecture: University of Uppsala, Sweden

"Nomenclatures as models"

Workshop, Institute of Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin, Germany: "Models and Images as Sites of Competition and Cooperation in Science"

‘‘'What a Prize She is’: Postwar Bbureaucracy and Human Genetics"

Invited lecture: Department of History, UCLA

Nachrichten & Presse

Jenny Bangham, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am MPIWG, wurde der „Prix M.-A. Pictet“ der Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genéve verliehen.
Jenny Bangham, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am MPIWG, hat den Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize für die Geschichte der Lebenswissenschaften 2014 erhalten.