NEH Postdoctoral Fellow (2021–2022)
Farren Yero is currently a postdoctoral associate in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She is a scholar of Latin America and the Caribbean, specializing in gender studies and the history of race, health, and medicine. Her writing has appeared in The Recipes Project, The Panorama, and Age of Revolutions, and her research has been supported by the ACLS, Fulbright-Hays, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Newberry Library. You can find her on twitter: @feyero
As an OI-NEH fellow, Dr. Yero will be revising her dissertation into a book manuscript titled Atlantic Antidote: Race, Gender, and the Birth of the First Vaccine. The project traces the circulation of the first smallpox vaccine through the Atlantic World and argues that we cannot understand the history of vaccination without addressing the role of race and reproductive politics in its creation and maintenance. In the book, Dr. Yero foregrounds the enslaved and free mothers who (willingly or not) provided access to their children, whom doctors relied upon to incubate and conserve the vaccine across imperial lines. In turn, she analyzes how vaccination became embedded in struggles over abolition, individual rights, and the very meaning of consent, highlighting the gender and racial politics of vaccine development and its contested relationship to slavery, freedom, and motherhood in the nineteenth century.
In addition to manuscript revisions, Dr. Yero will be writing a new chapter on the children who carried the vaccine, reflecting on the changing politics of childhood and what this category entailed during this watershed moment in the history of empire, medicine, family and slavery that converged around the introduction of the vaccine.