CDTS Speaker Series: Professor Alka Menon

When and Where

Thursday, October 19, 2023 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St. Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Professor Alka Menon


About the lecture:

Refashioning Race: How Global Cosmetic Surgery Crafts New Standards

How do cosmetic surgeons decide what racial categories should look like, and how is this process affected by transnational clinical and economic exchange? Drawing from my new book, Refashioning Race, this talk focuses on the role of cosmetic surgeons as gatekeepers to and producers of desired appearances. Based on interviews with cosmetic surgeons, observations of professional meetings and of doctor-patient consultations, I argue that cosmetic surgeons reshape race—literally, on patients’ body but also at the level of broader culture. I show how physicians produce and stabilize racial categories and hierarchies through a comparison of cosmetic surgery in the U.S. and Malaysia.

About Professor Menon:

Alka V. Menon is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where she is also affiliated with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, and the Council for Southeast Asian Studies. Her research examines the relationship between medicine, technology, and society, with a focus on race and racism and globalization. Her interdisciplinary work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Social Science Research Council. She received her PhD in sociology from Northwestern University.

Contact Information

Katharine Bell