I feel an abiding sense of gratitude for the privilege of being able to write this book, a gift given to me by so many people and institutions. I would like to thank my wife, Rebekah, whose love for me, belief in me, and sacrifices for my vocation keep my fire burning bright. Our shared sense of mission to place our bodies, minds, and spirits in service of the least among us is a powerful source of energy and purpose for me. Our lifelong companionship has been and, God willing, will continue to be the bedrock of my life. I love you so very much. I also thank my two firecrackers, Ruth and Elias, for their love, humor, and uncanny ability to keep me grounded. I’m certain that my grandfathers, neither of whom is with me in the flesh but only in spirit, would probably laugh at the very possibility that their great-grandchildren would one day completely take for granted that their dad writes and publishes books. I am extremely fortunate to be in a position to give them that laugh.
I thank my wonderful parents, Charles and Christine Hatch, for their constant wraparound of support and unconditional love for my little family. I should have these people on a payroll somehow, given how good they are at promoting me and my ideas. I also give especially hearty thanks to Paula Bokros, my selfless other mother, who has fed, housed, and helped to take care of me for nearly thirty years. I offer my thanksgiving to my family circle (Sweet Nanny, Nicci, Stephani, Big Willie, Marcus, Aaron, Alison, Jackie, Christina, Cody, Briana, Cheyenne, Dakota, Alexis, and Elizabeth) for their love and encouragement. To my larger family circle, including James and all the good people in East Point and Hartford, my thanks for your love and faithfulness.
In my scholarly circle, I am grateful to many people who supported this project over the past ten years. First I thank Ronald Braithwaite and his fellows at the Morehouse School of Medicine for teaching me priceless lessons about research ethics and for providing the institutional context that gave rise to this project in its earliest formulations in the summer of 2009. I offer thanksgiving to Lesley Reid for pointing me to the truly excellent people in the Summer Research Institute of the Racial Democracy, Crime, and Justice Network (RDCJN): Ruth Peterson, Laurie Krivo, Dana Haynie, Townsand Price-Spratlen, Jason Schnittker, Lori Burrington, Waverly Duck, Kishonna Gray, Mia Ortiz, LaDonna Long, Patrisia Macías-Rojas, Henrika McCoy, Delores Jones-Brown, Rod Brunson, Jody Miller, Robert Crutchfield, Stephanie DiPietro, Anthony Peguero, Evelyn Patterson, Reuben Miller, Eric Stewart, and Marjorie Zatz. Without their professional and scholarly guidance at a critical point in my life, this project would still be just a hunch.
I thank all my brilliant friends in and around the Science in Society Program at Wesleyan University for their intellectual collegiality: Joe Rouse, Jill Morawski, Jennifer Tucker, Paul Erickson, Bill Johnston, Lori Gruen, MJ Rubenstein, Mitali Thakor, Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Megan Glick, and Courtney Weiss Smith. Our program has been a generative force in the life of my mind and has given me an extraordinary opportunity to think through many of the issues I address in this book. Here, I have to thank two generations of Wesleyan students in my antipsychiatry lecture course and students in my Center for Prison Education seminar on the sociology of knowledge for walking through background material that informed my framing of this book. I offer special thanks to Marc Eisner, Liza McAlister, and the Center for African American Studies for their generous financial support for the publication of this book.
I thank all the folks who invited me to talk about this project with diverse audiences and whose questions, provocations, and behind-the-scenes support undoubtedly made it better: Jackie Orr, Lisa Jean Moore, Monica Casper, Laura Mamo, Emily Mann, Patrick Grzanka, Ruha Benjamin, Sydney Halpern, Kelly Moore, Joan Fujimora, Lundy Braun, and Ben Kail. Chris Vidmar, Haron Atkinson, and Victor Ogundipe provided valuable research assistance at Georgia State University. Substantial portions of this work were presented in the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University; in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College; at the Black Studies and Biopolitics Seminar at Princeton University; at the conference “Speculative Visions of Race, Technology, Science, and Survival” at the University of California, Berkeley; in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park; at the “Inter/dependence” Medical Humanities Symposium at Rutgers University; at the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University; and at the Wesleyan TEDx conference at Wesleyan University. Librarians at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin helped me navigate the Jessica Mitford Papers. Librarians at the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University helped me comb through the volumes of documents from the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research.
This work benefited from fruitful scholarly collaborations with Kym Bradley, Marik Xavier-Brier, Brandon Atell, and Eryn Viscarra. I am truly thankful for the boundless support of Jason Weidemann, whose editorial vision and ethical commitments to this work have brought it to life. Thank you to all the good people at the University of Minnesota Press whose labors put it on paper, especially my generous copy editor, Judy Selhorst, and to Lisa Guenther and an anonymous reviewer for their time, insights, and productive criticisms.
Finally, I offer a very special thanks to Renee M. Shelby, my coauthor, friend, and comrade, for all of your work on Silent Cells over the years. This book would not have been possible without you. Any errors of fact or interpretation are my sole responsibility.