Lectures

Spectacular Infrastructure: Madrid’s Pandemic Hospital between Public Spectacle and Speculation

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On a fresh autumn day in 2019, under Madrid’s deep-blue sky, I went for a morning coffee with Ernesto, an infectious-disease physician working in one of Spain’s largest public university hospitals, located in the city center. At the time, I was doing fieldwork on the consequences of Spain’s austerity policies for public healthcare in Madrid. Before passing …

Features

Burning down the house: When crisis becomes daily life in early-onset dementia

For my doctoral research, I interviewed family members living with a loved one with early-onset dementia, a diagnosis that one receives under the age of 65. Jans, not his real name, was the fourth person I interviewed in April 2015. Since he lived in a remote village in the east of the Netherlands, we met at a train station to …

Features

Refraction of daily life

Attending to what makes up ‘the everyday’ has long been a challenge for scholars in the social sciences. [1] Researchers from different disciplines and perspectives have explored how mundane things matter, how ‘big issues’ sit in the small. Feminists, for example, have insisted that ‘the personal is political’, to show how patriarchal relationships are founded in the mundane ways of …

BooksFeatures

Book Forum — Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation

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Richard Keller’s Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 is a careful accounting of the toll the heat wave took on those most vulnerable in the neighborhoods surrounding Paris.  The book is about the shape of vulnerability and its amplification over time — in fact, Fatal Isolation requires us to pause on the ideas of risk, vulnerability, …

In the Journals

Epidemic Events and Processes — A special section of Cambridge Anthropology

In a special section of their newest issue, entitled “Epidemic Events and Processes,” the journal Cambridge Anthropology presents a series of articles and commentary arising from the 2013 conference ‘Epidemic Crisis: Dialectics of Event and Process,’ which was held at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge. In his introduction, conference organizer …

Books

Peter Redfield’s Life in Crisis

Life in crisis: The ethical journey of doctors without borders

by Peter Redfield

University of California Press, 2013. 338 pages.

 

“Should we only get involved in beautiful, sexy emergencies or also in hopeless places? Our work is to keep trying amid pessimism” (p. 241). These are the words of a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor alluding to what Peter …