Bekeley Center for Social Medicine Structural Competency Lecture Series:

February 2017                                                                     

Thursday - Friday, February 9-10                                                                                                          Th: 12:30-4:30pm | Fri:9:00am - 4:30pm

Circulating Health: Mediatization and the (Im)Mobilization of Medical Subjects and Objects

This interdisciplinary, international conference features scholars from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Singapore, the UK, and the USA. The conference explores intersections between health and media, including how health news shapes conceptions of the body, life, death, race, health, disease, and health care and ideas about what constitutes knowledge about health, who has it, who needs it, and what sorts of rights and obligations it engenders. 

Please register in advance.   To read more information regrding this conference, click here

Location: Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley

Sponsored by: Berkeley Center for Social Medicine and Institute of International Studies

Co-sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, Graduate School of Journalism, Townsend Center for the Humanities, and School of Public Health, Berkeley Media Studies Group of the Public Health Institute, and the Folklore Graduate Program

Tuesday, February 14



Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

Ambivalent Kinship and the Production of Wellbeing: the Social Dynamics of Health Among Women in Indian Slums

Claire Snell-Rood,  Assistant Professor, Health and Social Behavior, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley

Contemporary advocates for health have endorsed widespread change through attention to the social conditions of health. Yet the large scale and policy orientation of this approach are unconcerned with how women negotiate their social relationships every day. Guided by new anthropological approaches to kinship, I examine women's relationships with family, community, state, and the environment through ethnography in a North Indian slum. While relationships were necessary channels to obtain the stuff of survival, women remarked on their hidden consequences. Haphazardly played, relationships yielded disastrous effects on social reputation, piled on long-term obligation, and whittled away one’s self-respect. Women could be left with no one to depend on and no moral reserve to sustain themselves. What was in their hands, they explained, were the boundaries they drew within relationships to maintain their independence and their capacity to define their meaning. This ethnographic approach re-appraises the social scientific and health literature on patron-client relationships, social support, and family exchange, while introducing a new social lens to approach wellness.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Gender & Women's Studies and Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley 

 March 2017

Monday, March 13



Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Structural Competency Event Series:

Fighting for Health Equity in 2017 and Beyond

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

with welcoming remarks by Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

Affordable, accessible, high-quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. Congresswoman Lee served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus during the drafting of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and worked to ensure strong provisions that expand health care access, address health disparities and create incentives for people to live healthy lives. As a psychiatric social worker, Congresswoman Lee is dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to affordable and high-quality healthcare, especially the most vulnerable. Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s main healthcare focus is always on health disparities and health equity, especially for racial and ethnic minorities. Congresswoman Lee is strongly opposed to any efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and will continue to fight to ensure that we all have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Chan Shun Auditorium, 2050 Valley Life Sciences Building. Enter from the east side (towards the Campanile).

Free and open to the public. Please register in advance.

Co-sponsored by the Schools of Public Health and Social Welfare, UC Berkeley, and Samuel Merritt University

Tuesday, March 14



Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Structural Competency Event Series:

Violence, Stigma, and Health Disparities of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

A symposium featuring Paul Sterzing (UC Berkeley), Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) and Mark Hatzenbeuhler (Columbia University). 

150 University Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. 

Sponsored by: The Center for Child and Youth Policy, School of Social Welfare, School of Public Health, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, Institute of Human Development

Contact with any questions

Wednesday, March 22 - CANCELLED



Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Colloquia Series:

Chronic Cultural Impossibility: Ideologies that Undermine Health as a Fundamental Social Right

Clara Mantini-Briggs, Departments of Anthropology and Demography, UC Berkeley


Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

April 2017

Tuesday, April 4


Berkeley Center for Social Medicine Colloquia Series:

What Gets Inside: Violent Entanglements and Toxic Boundaries in Mexico City 

Elizabeth Roberts, Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Michigan

Entanglement is a key concept in contemporary science and technology studies (STS).  By tracing all the contingent and uncertain relations that endow objects with seemingly stable boundaries, entanglement allows us to see how such boundaries restrict our ability to know the world better.  This talk deploys the concept of entanglement in an examination of contemporary life in a working-class Mexico City neighborhood, Colonia Periferico, and a longitudinal environmental health project that studies the neighborhood’s residents.  While entanglement is useful for analyzing the study (e.g., for reconnecting variables that the scientists have isolated), my examination of the entanglement of working-class bodies with NAFTA and the ongoing War on Drugs shows that the concept has its limits.  For working-class residents of Mexico City life is already deeply entangled with chronic economic and political instability shaped through the violent ravages of transnational capital.  To explore the utility and limits of entanglement Roberts traces how residents in Col. Periferico seek stability by making boundaries to keep out the disruptive effects of police and public health surveillance. Col. Periferico’s toxic boundaries, which include a sewage-filled dam, cement dust, and freeway exhaust, are clearly entangled with residents’ health.  They get inside. These entanglements are the price paid for a remarkable stability within Col. Periferico’s boundaries, where children can play on the streets and attentive care for drug-addicted and disabled residents is part of everyday life. Additionally, residents would like to share in the privilege of inhabiting a world where objects can be experienced separate from the relations that make them; a world with reliable drinking water and accurate blood lead measurements. With the goal of knowing the world better, then, STS might complicate celebratory calls for the uncertainty of entanglement by taking into account both the practices that make boundaries, and what boundaries have to offer.   

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, UC Berkeley and Medical Anthropology (UCB-UCSF)

May 2017

May 1 - 2


Anthropology on the Frontlines: Honoring the Work of Nancy Scheper-Hughes

Monday May 1, 1:00-7:00pm

Tuesday May 2, 11:00am-8:00pm 

For program, locations, and free registration, please visit:

The complete program is available here.

For any questions, please contact:

Co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues