Features

Conference Synopsis: The End of biodetermism? New Directions for Medical Anthropology

End of Biodeterminism

What is biodeterminism? Has it ended and did it ever exist? Earlier this month at Aarhus University, these seemingly straightforward questions resulted in three days of fascinating conversation during a conference titled “The End of biodetermism? New Directions for Medical Anthropology.”  The event, co-organized by the Centre for Cultural Epidemics (EPICENTER), the Interacting Minds Centre for the Study of

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Ten Things that Anthropologists Can Do to Fight the West African Ebola Epidemic

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Like other anthropologists who have woken up mid-career and found the countries where they’ve lived and worked awash in mass deaths (and let’s be real… that’s quite a lot of us), my initial response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was to hope that the experts had the situation under control, and bury my head in the sand.

Soon, …

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An Emerging Infectious Disease Perspective, Inter Alia

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As the saying goes, ‘there are no good models, only useful ones’. Tell a disease modeler that, and they might shake their head, interrupting to correct you – “only elegant ones”. And Hufnagel et al’s (2004) influential disease simulation, now ten years old, is quite elegant indeed. Published following the emergence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in

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Notes from Case Zero: Anthropology in the time of Ebola

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The lead for a story on the Ebola outbreak is, by now, familiar: on the 22nd of March, the Guinean Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola, the first ever in the region. The virus has since spread through the countryside and across its borders: west to Sierra Leone, south to Liberia, and most recently, north into Senegal. Cases …

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 …

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Epidemiology, the “Data Deluge,” and the Problem of “Good” Information

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Walking down the halls of a public health agency in the fall of 2009, I quickly became recognizable as the person doing research on information-sharing and sensemaking during infectious disease outbreaks. Two weeks into my tenure, I started being hailed by my academic association and playfully taunted with echoes of my research question: “Hey, Berkeley! Have you figured out the …