Edge Prize 2022: Jaimie Morse

The 2022 David Edge Prize committee are delighted to award the 2022 prize to Jaimie Morse’s 2021 Osiris article:

The Geopolitics of ‘Rape Kit’ Protocols: Historical Problems in Translation as Humanitarian Medicine Meets International Law, Osiris 36 (2021): 200-218. Morse’s article traces the global circulation of the rape kit and its attendant protocols. The author enlightens the reader to the relentless activism of nurses from the 1970s, following the rape kit, its protocols, and guidelines transnationally from the United States to the Democratic Republic of Congo, former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. Taking a ground-up approach to this instrument’s geopolitical life, Morse shows how overstretched medical professionals have been tasked with the impossible job of reconciling the often-divergent priorities of humanitarian medicine and international forensic law on the ground. The article deftly navigates a vast medical and legal terrain, demonstrating the very best that transnational and feminist STS is capable of accomplishing. Rigorously researched and persuasively argued, it achieves formidable breadth while always anchored in rich empirical detail. At this moment when women’s rights to their bodies are contested (Roe v. Wade), this article offers one of those rare openings in which analytical sophistication meets timely ethical reflections.

The 2022 David Edge Prize committee:

  • Chihyung Jeon (chair)
  • Barkha Kagliwal
  • Canay Ozden-Schilling
  • Manuel Tironi
  • Amanda Windle

Acceptance statement:

I am deeply honored to receive the David Edge Prize, and I would like to thank the prize committee for their careful reading of my work. This research would not have been possible without the nurses, doctors, lawyers, activists, and other experts who generously gave of their time to help me chart the history that I trace. I am grateful to Helen Tilley, editor of the Osiris volume on Therapeutic Properties: Global Medical Cultures, Knowledge, and Law, who invited me to develop a paper for the collection and whose thoughtful engagement with my work greatly improved the manuscript. The research began as my dissertation project at Northwestern University. I am very grateful for the mentorship of my dissertation committee, including Steve Epstein (Chair), Carol Heimer, Ken Alder, John Hagan, and Wendy Griswold. My participation in the Brocher Foundation junior fellowship, Sciences Po visiting scholars program, the American Bar Foundation colloquia, and the Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship led by Amy Ross and the late Chandra Lekha Sriram offered important intellectual exchanges with scholars outside my home institution. Ali Miller provided invaluable feedback on my work and facilitated additional research during my postdoctoral fellowship at Yale. 4S is one of my cherished intellectual homes, and I would like to thank the members of this community for their support in developing my work at many conferences and workshops over the years. I would like to dedicate this award to the survivors of sexual violence who I met as a rape crisis center volunteer. Their incredible strength and courage inspired me to undertake this research.


Jaimie Morse, Ph.D., MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Senior Visiting Fellow with the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University. Her work examines the politics of knowledge in biomedicine and global health, with a focus on the interplay between law, health, and human rights advocacy in processes of policy change. Her current book project examines these dynamics through the emergence of the sexual assault medical forensic exam (commonly known as the rape kit) as a tool of anti-rape activism in emergency medicine in the United States since the 1970s and its adaptation for use with refugees and internally displaced persons to document rape as a war crime. At UC Santa Cruz, she is affiliated with the Science and Justice Research Center, the Legal Studies program, and the Global and Community Health Initiative.