ARHE Call For Papers for AAA

“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:

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

COVID-19 Webinar: Ongoing Global Responses and Social Impact (April 16: 1-2:30 pm EDT)

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 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.