Pronouns: no preference
Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Lawson Hall 3255
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario N6A 5B8
I am a critical interdisciplinary health studies scholar jointly appointed in the Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies and the School of Health Studies at the University of Western Ontario (Western University). My research draws on critical theories and narrative methodologies to examine the social, political, and ethical dimensions of risk discourse and health technologies in neoliberal societies. To date, my research has focused on case studies that explore the political anatomy of women’s health in the 21st century and the intersection of discourses of risk, gender and sexuality in contemporary biopolitics, and include BRCA1/2 mutation testing, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, “vaccine hesitancy”, and menstrual/fertility tracking mobile applications. My dissertation on women’s experiences of vulnerability in relation to predictive genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer risk was awarded the Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award by the International Center for Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. In 2016, I co-edited, with Elaine Power, Neoliberal Governance and Health: Duties, Risks and Vulnerabilities (McGill-Queens University Press).
- Critical theory as applied to health, risk and biotechnology
- Biopolitics and governmentality
- Narrative methodologies
- Discourse analysis
- The body and embodiment
- Digital health studies
Polzer, J. and Wakewich, P. (2021). Mothers who know best: Narratives of motherhood and epistemological anxieties in vaccine hesitancy discourse. In Neil Brooks and Sarah Blanchette (Eds.), Narrative Art and the Politics of Health. London, UK: Anthem Press.
Polzer, J., Cayen, L., and Molinaro, M. (2020). The shifting politics of health in Canada: Papanicolaou (Pap) screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, and cervical cancer prevention. In Tremblay, M. and Everitt, J. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Gender, Sexuality and Canadian Politics. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
Haw, J., Polzer, J., Devine, D. (2020). Emotional labour and cord blood donation: Perspectives of frontline staff. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 34(5), 587-601. Doi: 10.1108/JHOM-10-2019-0305
Rail, G., Molina, L., Fusco, C., Norman, M., Petherick, L., Polzer, J., Moola, F., and Bryson, M. (2018). HPV Vaccination discourses and the construction of “At-Risk” Girls”. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 109(5-6), 622-632.
Sanford, S., Polzer, J., & McDonough, P. (2016). Preparedness as a technology of (in)security: Pandemic influenza planning and the global biopolitics of emerging infectious disease. Social Theory & Health, 14(1), 18-43.
Polzer, J. and Power, E. (2016). Neoliberal Governance and Health: Duties, Risks and Vulnerabilities. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press.
Polzer, J. (2016). The political is personal: Breast cancer risk, genetic(optim)ization, and the proactive subject as neoliberal biological citizen. In Polzer, J. and Power, E. (Eds.), Neoliberal Governance and Health: Duties, Risks and Vulnerabilities. McGill-Queens University Press.
Polzer, J., Mancuso, F. & Laliberte Rudman, D. (2014). Risk, responsibility, resistance: Young women’s negotiations of identity and healthy citizenship in human papillomavirus (HPV) narratives. Narrative Inquiry, 24(2), 281-308.
Polzer, J. & Knabe, S. (2012). From desire to disease: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and the medicalization of nascent female sexuality. Special issue of the Journal of Sex Research on the Medicalization of Sex, 49(4), 344-352.
Polzer, J. (2010). Caring for the self, caring for others: the politics and ethics of genetic risk for breast cancer, Canadian Woman Studies, 28 (2-3, Spring/Summer), S71-76. Special issue on Women and Cancer.
Polzer, J. & Robertson, A. (2010). Seeing and knowing in 21st century genomic medicine: The clinical pedigree as epistemological tool and hybrid risk technique, New Genetics & Society, 29(2), 133-147.
MacEachen, E., Polzer, J., & Clarke, J. (2008). “You are free to set your own hours”: Governing worker productivity and health through flexibility and resilience, Social Science & Medicine, 66, 1019-1033.
Breslin, C., Polzer, J., MacEachen, E., Shannon, H., & Morrongiello, B. (2007). Workplace injury or “part of the job”? Towards a gendered understanding of injuries and complaints among young workers, Social Science & Medicine, 64, 782-93.
Polzer, J., Mercer, S., Goel, V. (2002). ‘Blood is thicker than water’: Genetic testing as citizenship through familial obligation and the management of risk, Critical Public Health, 12(2), 1-16.
Teaching Related to Qualitative Research
- Feminist Research Methodologies (graduate), Dept. of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, UWO
- Introduction to Qualitative Health Research (undergraduate), School of Health Studies, UWO
- Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Narrative, Health, and Medicine (graduate), UWO