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 BCSM News and Announcements

Book Award for addicted.pregnant.poor by Kelly Knight

Book CoverCongratulations to Kelly Knight, BCSM faculty member and assistant professor of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine at UCSF. Her book addicted.pregnant.poor (Duke University Press 2015) received the British Sociological Association’s Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness 2016 Book Award. The book is an ethnography of addicted, pregnant, and poor women living in daily-rent hotels in San Francisco's Mission district. During her four years of fieldwork Knight documented women’s struggles as they traveled from the street to the clinic, jail, and family court, and back to the hotels.


 BCSM Welcomes New Visiting Scholar Sam Dubal

Sam DubalSam Dubal is a visiting scholar from Harvard Medical School. He earned his Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the UCSF-UC Berkeley program in 2015. During his year at BCSM, he will be working on two main projects. The first is a philosophical elaboration of an ‘anti-humanist medicine’, a radically alternative imaginary to a liberal humanity under which to practice social medicine and surgery. This work grows out of his second project, a book manuscript entitled Against Humanity, under contract with the University of California Press.  Based on his dissertation research with former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in northern Uganda, this provocative ethnography explores all the forms of life that exist beyond humanity – the political lives of rebels during and after the war; what they were fighting for; how they understand their lives today; and how they were harmed by the humanitarian idea that their experiences were not human.


BCSM Faculty Affiliate Deborah Gordon Featured in ISSI Summer Newsletter

In the latest edition of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues newsletter, Deborah Gordon talks about her research on genetic testing, mammograms, and wounded soldiers. She brings an interpretive approach and decades of cross-cultural research to her disparate projects, unified by the theme of the meanings of knowing.


 "Making Health Public," New Book Co-Authored by BCSM Co-Chair

Book Cover--Making Health PublicCharles Briggs, BCSM Co-Chair, and Daniel Hallin examine the relationship between media and medicine in their new book, Making Health Public: How News Coverage Is Remaking Media, Medicine, and Contemporary Life (Routledge 2016). Drawing on media content analysis and ethnographic data, the authors highlight the role of news coverage in shaping our understandings of health and disease. Some of the themes of the book will be explored further in a BCSM conference to be held in February of 2017, "Circulating Health: Mediatization and the (Im)Mobilization of Medical Subjects and Objects."


Special Journal IssueRefugees and Im/migrants in American Ethnologist, 1991–2016

In this special issue, the guest editors, including BCSM co-chair Seth Holmes, present a collection of articles that focus on refugees, migrants, immigrants, and mobilities previously published in American Ethnologist. The virtual issue is available free through November 2016 and includes an introduction delineating the themes of "spaces and mobilities, bodies and their ex/inclusions, and activisms and aid," as well as numerous articles including "Practices of translation and the making of migrant subjectivities in contemporary Italy," co-authored by BCSM faculty affiliate Cristiana Giordano, and "Representing the 'European refugee crisis' in Germany and beyond: Deservingness and difference, life and death," by Seth Holmes and Heide Castañeda.


 New Book by BCSM Faculty Members: "Tell Me Why My Children Died"  

Book CoverIn their new book, Tell Me Why My Children Died: Rabies, Indigenous Knowledge, and Communicative Justice, Charles Briggs and Clara Mantini-Briggs tell the story of indigenous leaders' efforts to identify a strange disease that killed thirty-two children and six young adults in a Venezuelan rain forest between 2007 and 2008. The BCSM faculty members relay the nightmarish and difficult experiences of doctors, patients, parents, local leaders, healers, and epidemiologists; detail how journalists first created a smoke screen, then projected the epidemic worldwide; discuss the Venezuelan government's hesitant and sometimes ambivalent reactions; and narrate the eventual diagnosis of bat-transmitted rabies. The book provides a new framework for analyzing how the uneven distribution of rights to produce and circulate knowledge about health are wedded at the hip with health inequities. By recounting residents' quest to learn why their children died and documenting their creative approaches to democratizing health, the authors open up new ways to address some of global health's most intractable problems.