Lectures

How to Make Medical Anthropology Useful to Healthcare Practitioners, Activists, and Policy-Makers: Lessons Learned

Introduction: A Brief Summary of My Medical Anthropological Activist Work

For three generations of practitioners, activists, and policymakers in the fields of childbirth, obstetrics, midwifery, and maternity care, I have served as the international public face of anthropology. Usually as the only anthropologist present, I have given over 1000 presentations at related conferences around the world that have directly influenced …

Lectures

Medical anthropology applied to education in socio-health professions: From the enchantment of technology to the enchantment of the encounter

“If you want to understand what a science is, you should look for the first instance not at its theories and its findings, and certainly not at what its apologists say about it, you should look  at what the practitioners of it do,” wrote Clifford Geertz (1973, p.311). To contribute to the continuous redefinition of medical anthropology, we will present …

Features

Emergent Anthropology: Reimagining U.S. Medical Anthropology in Theory and Practice

The American Anthropological Association website identifies four subfields of anthropology (archaeology, biological, cultural, linguistic) and reserves a separate section for “applied and practicing anthropology.” In our collective experience, we have found this division between ostensibly “academic” and “applied” anthropology problematic, as it limits the possibilities of a broadly conceptualized and enacted medical anthropology that is more continuous than categorical. We …

Lectures

Doing and Seeing: Cultivating a “Fractured Habitus” through Reflexive Clinician Ethnography

Introduction

The tension between critical theoretical innovation and on-the-ground, practical application has animated intense debate in medical anthropology (Scheper-Hughes 1990). Epistemological and methodological conflicts cropping up at the intersection of medicine and anthropology, though central considerations for all medical anthropologists, represent an inescapable source of tension for MD/PhD clinician-ethnographers. While innovative manuscripts produced by such scholars (Wendland 2019) have illustrated …

Lectures

The Thinness of Care: The Promise of Medical Anthropology in MD/PhD Training

In the mid-twentieth century, recognizing the growing need for innovations born of clinical experience, pathways for training MD-PhD physician-scientists emerged in the hopes that this hybrid training could produce novel insights into disease and ultimately, treatments. In the years since formal MD/PhD training programs were established, a growing number of institutions have established pathways for a combination with non-traditional disciplines, …

Lectures

Medical Anthropology and Practice of Medicine in Health Issues

Abstract: It is known through anthropological literature that African countries are distinguished by a category of medicine that many specialists call ethnomedicine or traditional African medicine. Faced with biomedicine, ethnomedicine has often been relegated to the background in the resolution of health-related problems. However, ethnomedicine resurfaces in African countries, particularly in Cameroon, when there is no biomedical solution to a