Features

Beach

Beaches are good places to think with about waste and ruination. They were once generically places of waste (in the etymological sense of “unoccupied, uncultivated”) while recognized as actants in processes of ruination—including erosion that produced their defining shingle and sand, the death and decay of what washes up on them, and the shipwrecks they induced. In the industrializing world …

BooksFeatures

Book forum — Alondra Nelson’s The Social Life of DNA

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In The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome, Alondra Nelson traces the multiple ways in which genetic testing and related technologies have become entangled in contemporary debates, projects, politics, and interventions surrounding race in the United States.  This wide-ranging and incisive book manages the difficult task of being a key addition to the scholarly …

Features

Body

It is increasingly impossible to think of the problem of waste, or discarded and denigrated materials, separately from the problem of race, or discarded and denigrated people. There are at least two ways to think about this association: in terms of proximity or consubstantiality and in terms of resemblance or metaphorical substitution. On the one hand, people and communities of …

FeaturesTeaching Resources

Teaching Medical Anthropology

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I am grateful to those who have shared their medical anthropology syllabi here and thought I would add mine to the mix. There is so much one could cover in a med anthro course! I am always concerned with overwhelming my students, especially those not only new to the subdiscipline but also to anthropology and even to social science (ah, …

Features

Texting Like A State: mHealth and the first thousand days in South Africa

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What does making a new life look like from the perspective of a mobile phone?

For the phone of a woman using the public health care system in Cape Town, South Africa, in all likelihood involves a series of WhatsApp conversations with a partner, with friends and kin. The phone helps with “Googling” questions about health and childcare, maybe about …

Features

Beauty

In the late 1990s, a group of Japanese researchers set out to investigate whether small-scale gold mining operations near the shores of East Africa’s Lake Victoria were resulting in mercury contamination of local fish and human populations. The group included Dr. Masazumi Harada who began his medical career in the early 1960s by studying the devastating effects of severe mercury …