Lectures

Against Social Distancing: A Call for Social Solidarity in this Time of Physical Distancing

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In this time of apocalyptic “shelter in place” orders, school closures with impromptu home-schooling, and toilet paper shortages, everyone is asked and admonished to practice “social distancing”.  By this, public health professionals mean people should stay home except for essential tasks, keep 6 feet distance from each other, wash hands frequently, and cover coughs.  These measures can slow the spread …

Lectures

Feeble-mindedness, depression and obesity: a brief history of eugenics and dietary interventions in Australia

In October 2019 the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) released a report stating that mental health cost employers $4.7 billion AUD in absenteeism. The report also highlighted significant government expenditure on health services as well as intangible costs on committees. Over the past decade there have also been a number of reports from federal and state governments on the economic and …

Lectures

The mosquito struggle: other-than-vector ecologies in a ‘Zika-free’ Brazilian sertão

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A luta dos mosquitos: ecologias outras-que-vetoras num sertão “livre de zika”

Em 2016, a Organização Mundial de Saúde (OMS) declarou a epidemia de zika no Brasil como uma ameaça global (WHO, 2019). Desde então, a relação entre o vírus, a microcefalia e, mais amplamente, a síndrome congênita do zika (SCZ) em centenas de recém-nascidos …

Lectures

Head circumference

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In the early months of 2016, as global media sources incited fear among pregnant women that Zika would result in babies with small heads and stunted intellectual capacity, we found ourselves puzzled. [1] A scientific study in the Maya-Mam area of Guatemala where we were working had just reported exceptionally high rates of microcephaly. Because …

Lectures

The Social Life of Metrics

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La vida social de las métricas

Guatemala es uno de los países de Centroamérica que ha reportado en la última década uno de los problemas de crecimiento infantil más importantes en la región de América Latina y el mundo, el cual incluye a casi la mitad de los niños menores de cinco años (CEPAL,2018 ). [1]

Lectures

Syndemics: Considerations for Interdisciplinary Research

In this short piece, I explore how medical anthropology could be deployed through interdisciplinary collaborations in a way that is both theoretically rich and poised to positively impact health outcomes. In particular, I consider how research agendas focused on improving health care outcomes reveal certain limitations and underlying assumptions within the discipline. What types of methodological shifts might occur if