Faculty Member

Jessica Polzer PhD (Social Science and Health)

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
519-661-2111 x. 8157
Office Address
Women's Studies and Feminist Research, The University of Western Ontario 2340 Somerville House London, ON N6A 3K7
Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division
Associate Professor
SGS Status
Associate Member
Appointment Status
Status Only

Research Interests

critical theories of risk; governmentality; Foucault; HPV vaccination; genetics; critical social science perspectives; biopolitics; biotechnology; women’s health; the body/embodiment; qualitative research; critical discourse analysis; narrative research

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate Teaching

Social Determinants of Health, School of Health Studies, UWO

Graduate Teaching

Biopolitics, Feminism, Health, Dept. of Women’s Studies & Feminist Research, UWO

Honours & Awards

  • Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award, International Center for Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois

Current Research Projects

  • A critical discourse analysis of the HPV Vaccine in Canada (Co-Investigator: Susan Knabe)
  • Young Women “at risk”: A pilot study of young women’s experiences of risk for HPV, cervical cancer and decision-making concerning the HPV Vaccine

Representative Publications

  • Polzer, J. & Robertson, A. (2007). From familial disease to “genetic risk”. Harnessing women’s labour in the (co)production of scientific knowledge about breast cancer. In Hannah-Moffat, K. and O’Malley P. (Eds), Gendered Risks, London: Glasshouse Press, pp. 31-53.
  • Polzer, J. (2005). Choice as responsibility: Genetic testing as citizenship through familial obligation and the management of risk. In Bunton, R. and Petersen, A. (Eds), Genetic Governance: Health, Risk and Ethics in the Biotech Era, London: Taylor and Francis, pp. 79-92.
  • 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.
  • Polzer, J. & Knabe, S. “Good girls do”… get vaccinated: Mass marketing of vaccines against cervical cancer: language, images, and moral dilemmas (forthcoming). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
  • 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.