In the Journals

In the Journals

With the end of the year onslaught of new journal issues, interesting articles abound this month. Here are several that might be of interest:

In the most recent issue of American Anthropologist, Pamela Geller writes about bodyscapes in bioarcheological contexts in “Bodyscapes, Biology, and Heteronormativity”:

The term bodyscape encourages thinking about representation of bodies at multiple scales—from different bodies as they move through space to the microlandscape of individual bodily differences. A hegemonic bodyscape’s representations tend to idealize and essentialize bodies’ differences to reinforce normative ideas about a society’s socioeconomic organization. But, a dominant bodyscape is never absolute. Bodyscapes that depart from or subvert hegemonic representations may simultaneously exist. In Western society, the biomedical bodyscape predominates in scientific understandings of bodily difference. Its representation of sex differences conveys heteronormative notions about gender and sexuality. Because the biomedical bodyscape frames studies of ancient bodies, investigators need recognize how their considerations of labor divisions, familial organization, and reproduction may situate modern (hetero)sexist representations deep within antiquity. To innovate analyses of socioeconomic relations, queer theory allows scholars to interrogate human nature. Doing so produces alternative bodyscapes that represent the diversity of past peoples’ social and sexual lives.

Sarah Horton and Judith Barker present their work on the disciplinary work of public health campaigns for oral hygiene among undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States in their American Ethnologist article, “‘Stains’ on Their Self-Discipline: Public Health, Hygiene, and the Disciplining of Undocumented Immigrant Parents in the Nation’s Internal Borderlands”:

Histories of the role of public health in nation building have revealed the centrality of hygiene to eugenic mechanisms of racial exclusion in the turn-of-the-20th-century United States, yet little scholarship has examined its role in the present day. Through ethnography in a Mexican migrant farmworking community in California‘s Central Valley, we explore the role of oral hygiene campaigns in racializing Mexican immigrant parents and shaping the substance of their citizenship. Public health officials perceive migrant farmworkers’ children’s oral disease as a “stain of backwardness,” amplifying Mexican immigrants’ status as “aliens.” We suggest, however, that the recent concern with Mexican immigrant children’s oral health blends classic eugenic concerns in public health with neoliberal concerns regarding different immigrant groups’ capacity for self-governance.

Anthropology and Medicine has a new batch of articles in their December issue, including a number on immigrant and refugee health and three on treating malaria.

The December issue of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry includes a new feature—the Communiqué, which, editor Atwood Gaines writes in his opening comments, “is not a full article or an Opinion. Rather, it communicates a statement of a position of the author. It may not be based upon research, as such.” The inaugural example comes from Professor Xu Youxin, who presents a conceptualization of mental disorders in his article, “The Third Category of Mental Disorders”. In addition, the issue contains articles concerned with the particular medicalization of hair in a South Indian devi cult; the links between increase alcohol use and worsening tuberculosis treatment outcomes in Russia; the phenomenon of burnout in Sweden; the everyday experience of ADHD for a family in Los Angeles; the reasons that people delay seeking treatment; and the eating attitudes of schoolgirls in Belize.

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