Talia Gordon: Crisis and Resilience in Flint, MI

Wednesday May 30, 4:30-6:00pm. Rosenwald 329

 Please join Medicine and Its Objects for our final workshop of the year!

Talia Gordon (Comparative Human Development):

Why Resilience Now? Crisis, Recovery, and Collective Life in Flint, MI

In 2014, the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, became contaminated with unprecedented levels of lead, sparking a public health crisis. The contamination drew national attention to the devastating effects of decades-long social and economic decline, broken infrastructure, and the continued disinvestment by state and federal administrations in an already disenfranchised community. In response to the crisis, the United States government has invested federal aid in building “resilience” in Flint. Indeed, in recent years, resilience – the capacity to withstand, recover from, or adapt to adversity – has become nearly ubiquitous as a strategy for enabling communities to respond to the effects of crisis. Yet, the investment in resilience holds perplexing social and political implications for the ways in which experiences of adversity are managed by Flint residents, local officials, and the state. The ascendance of resilience, I hypothesize, expresses shifts in the social and political foundations that give structure and meaning to experiences of adversity, recovery, and belonging in the United State’s post-welfare era.

Please join us for this final workshop of the year! Refreshments will be served, and there will be an end of year party immediately following. To receive the paper, or if you have any questions or require assistance to attend, email the MaIOW coordinator: Kieran Kelley (kierankelley@uchicago.edu).

To subscribe to the MaIOW mailing list, visit: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/medicineanditsobjects 

 

Steven Server, Public Health and Anthropology in Post-Revolutionary Mexico

Wednesday May 16, 4:30-6:00pm. Rosenwald 329

Steven Server (Medicine/Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science):

Forjando salud: Anthropology and Public Health in post-Revolutionary Mexico

Opening Remarks: Emily Webster (History)

What is the relationship of anthropology to medicine?  Does anthropology enhance the persuasive power of biomedicine to win concrete benefits for patients? Or is applied anthropology simply a way for clinicians to flatten the complex social relations imbricated in an individual illness experience into an object more easily exploitable by the clinician, and thus broader society? I aim to probe this tension by means of a case study: a Mexican public health program called the servicio medico-social (SMS). In the 1930s, the SMS aimed to bring senior medical students into the rural countryside, serving as the town doctor for hamlets which may have never experienced biomedicine before. Part of these young students’ charge was to send regular reports back to Mexico City concerning the details of infectious disease in the region. But a critical element of these reports was also the detailed ethnographic pictures painted of a town’s customs, language, and beliefs.

How was this information to serve the Mexican state’s larger public health—and ideological—endeavors?  In this paper, I hope to use the SMS as a means by which to understand the mechanics of the Mexican alliance between anthropology and medicine, as well as the central role played by epistemology in advancing the centralizing, developmentalist goals of the post-Revolutionary state.

To receive the paper, or if you have any questions or require assistance to attend, email the MaIOW coordinator: Kieran Kelley (kierankelley@uchicago.edu).

To subscribe to the MaIOW mailing list, visit: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/medicineanditsobjects 

Adia Benton: Ebola; militarized humanitarianism, salvation and care

Wednesday May 9, 4:30-6:00pm. Rosenwald 329 

Adia Benton (Anthropology, Northwestern University):

Ebola(s): Thoughts about memory, history, and survival in an epidemic’s aftermath

What does a militarized humanitarian ethic look like? How is it envisioned, enacted and experienced during the course of an epidemic? Does it share an elective affinity — if not common origins and structural homology — with US public health? In this paper, I probe these questions, which have emerged as I revisit data from my personal Ebola archive and the professional archives of a friend and collaborator who worked for the WHO during West African Ebola outbreak. Specifically, I read these archives alongside ethnographic data collected via ongoing conversations with ‘frontline responders’, visits to temporary museum exhibits and guided tours of abandoned and repurposed holding and treatment centers in Sierra Leone. The paper, I hope, will be an opportunity to sketch out and theorize relationships among the range of organizations participating in industries of salvation and care.

This workshop will not have a pre-circulated paper. If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, email the MaIOW coordinator: Kieran Kelley (kierankelley@uchicago.edu).

To subscribe to the MaIOW mailing list, visit: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/medicineanditsobjects