Therapeutic Artifacts: Race, Gender, and Cultural Production in the Context of Adolescent Cancer Treatment
Although there are a number of ethnographic studies of the ways in which race and gender affect clinical interactions and experiences in the context of cancer treatment, none of these studies have explored the role of racialized and gendered constructions of youth culture and adolescence as a normative life stage. My research will explore these issues through a sensory ethnography of adolescent cancer treatment at UCSF Bennioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Through interviews and participant observation in art and music therapy sessions, I will explore how patients, family members, and psychosocial professionals articulate racialized and gendered conceptions of adolescence, youth culture, and cancer patienthood. Among patients and families, I will explore how racialized and gendered constructions of adolescence and youth culture may serve as therapeutic resources for coping with the stresses and traumas of cancer treatment. Among psychosocial professionals, I will explore how overt and covert constructions of race and gender influence the therapeutic interventions they offer and the clinical interactions they have with specific patients.