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Writing Life No. 5: An interview with Robert Desjarlais

This article is part of the series:
Photo by Robert Desjarlais

“British poet W.H Auden suggested that true poets are those who like ‘hanging around words listening to what they say.”

Desjarlais, 2011, Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chess Board,15.

At the Paris Institute of Advanced Studies, where Robert is currently a research fellow, it is 3:30 p.m. We meet online to discuss how to …

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

Features

Vampires, Cannibals, and Sorcerers on the Loose

On February 8, 2019, a symposium organized by Nancy Rose Hunt on the scholarship and career of Luise White was held at the University of Florida. In the nearly twenty years since the publication of White’s Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (University of California, 2000), her thinking at the intersection of anthropology and history continues to

Features

Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …

Features

Taking part in and being part of giving birth: Enacting participation in a midwife-led birth situation

According to her midwife Jana, Mira’s was a textbook birth: it was quite fast, even for a second birth, and proceeded without any complications. In reflecting on her attendance at Mira’s birth, which I had witnessed the day before, Jana emphasised that her task during birth is only to observe: “Observing, keeping an objective view, and recognising what the situation …

Features

Opening up shrinking life-worlds

Lives change dramatically as dementia progresses. Using observations of people suffering from obsessions and compulsions, I will analyse this change along three dimensions.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by intrusive anxiety-provoking thoughts (obsessions) and rituals aimed at reducing anxiety, which then paradoxically come to exacerbate it (compulsions). I have been studying clinicians working with people who suffer from a severe, …