Claudia Morales, a graduate student from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has written about the added effects to quality of life for disabled migrants in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic. See the link below for the pdf.
Working Definitions: Making and Unmaking “Medical Anthropology” around the World
Somatosphere Special Series
Editors: Professor Paschal Kum Awah (Chair, Anthropology, University of Yaoundé I) and Elizabeth Durham (PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Princeton University)
Anthropology’s interest in health, illness, prevention, and treatment is longstanding and increasingly robust. In this era of medical development, epidemics and pandemics, and debates in both the oft-called “Global North” and “Global South” over anthropology, colonialism, and associated prefixes (post-, neo-, de-), the constellation of theory and praxis known as medical anthropology has traveled fast and far. In this Somatosphere special series, we seek to at once ground and unsettle the contours of “medical anthropology” itself by highlighting encounters between anthropologists and healthcare providers — and especially among anthropologists working in the same field or setting — in which the scope and purpose of medical anthropology are foregrounded and framed as questions. What constitutes an appropriate focus of study for medical anthropology? What are the parameters of “being appropriate”? To what or whose ends are the findings of medical anthropology best put? How do discourses on culture (e.g. “authenticity”) and power (e.g. “legitimacy”) adjudicate the limits and insights of medical anthropology? How does health-focused collaboration proceed, and should it, when collaborators have markedly different views of the practice and point of medical anthropology?
We welcome single-authored and multiple-authored contributions but prioritize the latter to best explore the potential and texture of relations among scholars hailing from or identifying with different communities, histories, and positions of power. To this end, we particularly encourage contributions from authorial teams comprised of colleagues from both the “Global North” and “Global South.” Our call includes but is not limited to the following themes:
–Voluntary and state-mandated collaboration between citizen and non-citizen anthropologists
–Encounters among “academic” and “applied” anthropologies, public health, and/or culturalism
–Negotiations of therapeutic intellectual property/practice; rights to knowledge, secrecy, and study; and underlying moral and legal frameworks of rights and rightsholders
–Negotiations of research ethics norms between healthcare providers and anthropologists, and among anthropologists (and the institutions that train and employ them)
–MD/PhD training programs and their implications for research, critique, and collaboration
–Funding and institutional incentives and disincentives to collaboration in medical anthropology
–Debates over the globality of biomedicine, the “global” as a useful site or analytic, and dynamics between biomedicine and ethnomedicine
–COVID-19 and the timeframe and sociality of knowledge production in medical anthropology
If you would like to contribute, please email a short abstract (250-300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by July 31, 2020. Final contributions will range from 1,500-2,500 words, though we will consider shorter and longer pieces as necessary. While Somatosphere usually publishes in English, we welcome abstracts and contributions in other languages and will work with authors to arrange translation. Translated contributions will appear in both their original language and English on the Somatosphere website.
We, in the Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies Special Interest Group (ARHE SIG), condemn the recent killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and so many other African Americans. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and others in the fight against police brutality, criminal prosecution of police brutality, and the destruction of systemic racism anywhere it is found. We deplore the continued abuse of protesters by police in many cities around the country. We mourn the deaths of so many Black people at the hands of American police. The criminalization of mental illness, substance use, and poverty has resulted in a profound loss of life, equity, and opportunity for BIPOC in the United States for the last four centuries. ARHE supports the development of community services that address these issues within BIPOC communities.
We focus on health emergencies such as epidemics and the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, we define health emergency broadly and, as such, we view the centuries of racist abuse to be an epidemic that has taken countless lives and is long overdue to be addressed. As anthropologists, we are aware of the discipline’s own role in anti-Black systemic racism inside academia and within our work. As the current pandemic is demonstrating, systemic racist policies have led to health disparities which are disproportionately impacting Black, Latinx and indigenous communities in this current health emergency. We hold ourselves accountable for standing against racism, brutality, and inequity everywhere we see it and using our skills as anthropologists to shine light on the dark heart of systemic racism and structural violence wherever it lurks.
From Olivia Tulloch of Anthropologica:
I’m pleased to circulate a new SSHAP output. This is a review presenting social science considerations for care and infection prevention and control (IPC) for COVID-19 in home-care.
A couple of differences from recent outputs: we have a new design, and this one is a longer review, not our standard brief format. It explains why home care is important, provides an overview of existing guidance and models for home and community-based care, and provides themed recommendations for guidance and support.
As usual the infographic and translations will follow on the website in the coming days. This is our 10th output, and requests keep coming, so you’ll hear from me in due course.
Also I’m aware that some people did not receive notification of our recent briefs: on conflict and displacement in Mayanmar available at: https://www.socialscienceinaction.org/resources/key-considerations-covid-19-context-conflict-displacement-myanmar/
And on marginalised populations in South East Asia, available here: https://www.socialscienceinaction.org/resources/key-considerations-covid-19-management-marginalised-populations-southeast-asia-transnational-migrants-informal-workers-people-living-informal-settlements/
All the briefs are available on the website, and some recent ones below, in case you missed them.
Please tweet and share as appropriate. Please let me know if you don’t want to receive future outputs, and if there are others you feel you have missed out on, please see more information below.
Hugh Gusterson writes a powerful article on the influence that magical thinking has on coping with the types of stress we are facing now with the coronavirus pandemic. He compares the early 20th century Maji Maji Rebellion against German occupation of what is now Tanzania to the (mostly) U.S. protesters arming themselves while the practice their first amendment right to dissent.
He notes that “people turn to magic when they feel powerless” and how this magic can lead to a “sense of false security.” Conspiracy theories abound when the world around us is uncertain as well. Gusterson, briefly, lists the types of rumors and false cures that people around the world latch onto in the face of chaos and concern. He then focuses his attention on the U.S. and the different examples of magical thinking and pseudoscience. He argues that, while magical thinking and pseudoscience are coping strategies in uncertain times, they are ultimately no match against the realities of a viral pandemic and can even cause harm.
This is not the first time that pandemics have led to such ideas. During the worst of the AIDS pandemic, scientists and physicians with questionable credentials pandered “theories” and even a president failing to provide antiretroviral medications to his citizens and various “cures” including violence against women and girl children . And, during the recent Ebola epidemics, rumors of witchcraft and Western aid and medical workers using Ebola for demonic purposes spread almost as fast at the epidemic itself.
We will be managing ourselves, our children, our governments, our economies, and our world for months to come in the face of COVID-19. Part and parcel in that management is managing our stress, fears, and phobias related to sickness, health, and our health and democratic institutions. A management strategy, for better or for worse, is magical thinking, unfounded cures, and yes, sometimes violence against our most vulnerable.
“Responding to Epidemics: Engaging Local Knowledge and Practices During Health Emergencies” – AAA Meetings, November 18-22, 2020 (Please note important deadlines below)
We invite abstracts for the a panel for the AAA Meetings in St. Louis, MO, Nov 18-22, 2020
This panel is organized by the Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies (ARHE), a special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology.
Co-organizers: Michael C. Ennis-McMillan (Skidmore College) and Mary J. Hallin (University of Nebraska at Omaha)
Chair: Deon Claiborne (Michigan State University)
“Responding to Epidemics: Engaging local knowledge and practices during health emergencies”
The initial responses to epidemics such as Zika in the Americas and Ebola in West Africa tended to have a biomedical focus with little consideration of knowledge practices and response of local communities. Furthermore, the flow of information tended to be one directional with responses developed in the West or developed countries and then transferred to developing countries, with indigenous knowledge and practices marginalized. This flow of information fails to consider that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa or in Asia have effective treatments and responses to the respective illness. Anthropologists have become involved in epidemic responses to help understand human behavior during an epidemic. This panel examines responses to past epidemics and to the current COVID19 response. Using anthropology’s comparative perspective, the panel explores local responses across the globe to epidemics and health crises. Issues covered by the panel include risk of infection, access to and use of biomedical and traditional medical services to address epidemics, social aspects of death and dying, collaboration among all health providers and first responders, contact tracing, and role/contribution of anthropologists in epidemics. Case studies draw from a variety of geographic regions. This panel is organized by the Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies (ARHE), a special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology. The panel focuses on identifying anthropological approach to identifying strategies, effective prevention and treatment, community participation, and addressing health disparities. Comparing responses to disease outbreaks and examining the role of anthropologists and the local communities can help us learn from previous epidemics and can help develop locally meaningful and effective responses to COVID-19 and other health emergencies.
Before May 13, contact: Michael C. Ennis-McMillan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 13: Due date to submit 250 word application to organizers
May 15: AAA due date to begin application online
May 20 May (17:00 EDT): AAA due date to complete application online
This piece throws light on how and why migrant workers in country decided to return to native villages. This is the significant humanitarian crisis generated in India as a result of Pandemic. This piece discusses the impact on the pandemic on precarious population in India
This webinar, the third in a series, focuses on social science perspectives from three different countries: Kenya, India, and Costa Rica. It is hosted by the American Anthropological Association, the Society for Medical Anthropology, and Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies (ARHE–us!).
The speakers are Isaac K. Nyamongo, Ph.D. from the Co-operative University of Kenya; Suman Chakrabarty, Ph.D. Mrinalini Datta Mahavidyapith, India; and Jorge Benavides-Rawson, M.D. and Ph.D candidate, George Washington University, speaking on Costa Rica.
Go to https://tinyurl.com/v68zlqg to register. The webinar is free, but you will need to make a profile and add the webinar to your “cart” and go through the motions of “buying” it. Then look for two emails: 1. a confirmation email and 2. the email with the zoom link and other information.