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Facial Paralysis: Somaticizing Frustration in Guatemala

While conducting ethnographic fieldwork on indigenous political organizing in northwest Guatemala in the mid 2000s, I encountered, quite by accident, an apparent epidemic of Bell’s Palsy—an illness involving the paralysis of one half of the face, known locally as derrame facial (facial stroke) or parálisis facial. After conversing with sufferers, I began to wonder what their condition and the …

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Un/Inhabitable Worlds: The Curious Case of Down’s Syndrome

This article is part of the series:

In her superb exposition of staring, Garland-Thomson (2009) draws attention to Chris Rush’s artistic piece Swim 2 which depicts a woman with Down’s syndrome in a regal pose (figure 1).

Figure 1: ‘Swim 2’ by Chris Rush. All rights reserved.

Figure 1: ‘Swim 2’ by Chris Rush. All rights reserved.

She continues:

The portrait invites us to stare, engrossed perhaps less with the “strangeness” of this woman’s disability and more

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“Bioculturalism” – An interview with William Dressler

This article is part of the series:

This series aims to get anthropologists and closely-related others talking seriously, and thinking practically, about how to synergize biological and social scientific approaches to human health and well-being, and to what positive ends. In this interview, Bill Dressler responds to questions posed by series organizer Jeffrey G. Snodgrass.

 

How and why might cultural anthropologists and social scientists interested

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Introduction: “Bioculturalism: The Why and How of a Promising Medical Anthropological Future”

This article is part of the series:

I’m perplexed by cultural anthropology’s antagonism toward biology, with culture and biology more typically treated as providing alternate and competing, rather than complementary and synergistic, explanations for human functioning. This is particularly strange to me—a practicing cultural anthropologist with a background in molecular biology—when even medical anthropologists fail to account for the role biology plays in shaping human health. Wouldn’t …

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The Ethnographic Vision of John L. Gwaltney: The Thrice Shy, A Forgotten Gem

This article is part of the series:

Gwaltney, John L. 1967. The Thrice Shy: Cultural Accommodation to Blindness and Other Disasters in a Mexican Community. New York and London: Columbia University Press. 219 pp., including four appendices, references, and index.

I once had a housemate who, each year for a decade running, would set aside a week to take a break from the hyperkinetic pace of …

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Forgotten Gems — a new series

This article is part of the series:

What sources of creative insight and inspiration might scholars today find in the history of our field — in particular, in some of the paths not taken? What hidden treasures lie buried in overlooked and neglected works from the past?

With Lesley Sharp’s original essay, “The Ethnographic Vision of John L. Gwaltney:  The Thrice Shy, A Forgotten Gem