Lectures

Introduction: Working Definitions: Making and Unmaking “Medical Anthropology” around the World

Anthropology’s interest in health, illness, prevention, and treatment is longstanding and increasingly robust. In this era of medical development, epidemics and pandemics, and debates in both the oft-called “Global North” and “Global South” over anthropology, colonialism, and associated prefixes (post-, neo-, de-), the constellation of theory and praxis known as medical anthropology has traveled fast and far. In this Somatosphere 

Lectures

The Limits of Warmth: Cultural Adaptation and the Politics of Temperature in a Bolivian Hospital

This article is part of the series:

In the small municipal hospital in the Bolivian highland town of Machacamarca (a pseudonym), the chilly air of the Andes seeps into the building, traveling through the thin walls and tile floors. The delivery room, situated next to the surgery ward, is especially cold; the air makes the metal gurney sitting in the middle of the room icy to the …

Lectures

Reshaping the bulimic self

This article is part of the series:

The current clinical and social explanations of bulimia in the United Kingdom are based upon two premises: 1) that bulimia is a derivative of anorexia, and 2) that it is a hierarchically “lower” disorder, meaning that it is worse to have than anorexia. These explanations of bulimia revolve around the concept of “control” and conceptualize a particular bulimic “subjectivity.” By …

Lectures

Ethnomedicinal Practices and Behavioral Changes During Deadly Disease Outbreaks: A Commentary and Lesson from Cameroon

This article is part of the series:

In mid-2014, six months after the death of patient zero, the two-year-old boy in the village of Meliandou in Guinea, there were frequent reports of Ebola spikes across Guinea and beyond other parts of West Africa. I had just defended my PhD and soon after was accepted for a postdoctoral fellowship at Rhodes University, South Africa for the following year. In …

Lectures

Paying attention: Diagnosis, values, and meaning-making in the ADHD clinic

This article is part of the series:

Attention, as you know, is the basic faculty, the mother faculty of what we commonly call intelligence. Those who play a role in education must, above all, provoke and capture that attention.
Costa Ferreira, 1920: 140

In this lecture addressed to primary school teachers, the founder of the Portuguese school of medical pedagogy, Costa Ferreira, called “attention” the mother of …

Lectures

Staying (at Home) with Brain Fog: “Un-witting” Patient Activism

This article is part of the series:


Scene 1: It’s Sunday afternoon, around one o’clock, and a group of a dozen or so people log onto a video call from their apartments. Occasionally someone’s cat will walk into the frame, obscuring the camera, or a deliveryman will ring the buzzer, interrupting the flow of conversation. But mostly, what we see of each other are scenes of domestic