Travel, Circulation, and Public Health Models: Critical Intersections
Panel for 2009 SMA Meetings - Medical Anthropology at the Intersections: Celebrating 50 Years of Interdisciplinarity
September 24-27, at Yale University
Area of Intersection: Science & Technology Studies
Organizers: Shana Harris (University of California, Berkeley / University of California, San Francisco) and Beatriz Reyes-Cortes (University of California, Berkeley)
Over the last two decades, numerous anthropological explorations of science and technology have closely examined the concepts of “travel” and “circulation.” Such analyses tend to investigate how different knowledge, technologies, and techniques become not only “situated” in particular locations, but also how they become mobile. This panel follows this analytic thread by exploring a topic which medical anthropologists yet few science and technology scholars have studied to date: public health models. These models — often times originating in the global north — have increasingly traveled to sites where a particular “public health” issue may exist under different circumstances and may be produced in ways that resemble and differ from the original context. This panel, therefore, closely examines how various public health models have traveled to and within different spatial, linguistic, institutional, and philosophical environments. Drawing on research conducted in both the global north and south, panelists investigate how these models are potentially morphed and transformed during the course of their circulation, creating difficulties, innovations, and transformations in their reproducibility across different terrains. They also explore the potential areas of contestation that are produced in the definition and implementation of models in the name of public health.
What areas of contestation are produced in the definition and implementation of models in the name of public health? How are actors in the ground - local governments, grassroots organizations, NGOs, and international organizations attempting to implement foreign models in new settings as well as the “target population” — understand, define, and construct "public health" itself? In particular, how is a “target population” defined and how do members of this population understand themselves vis a vis the public health
“problem” they represent? How do they and entities representing public health and the models they seek to implement balance alterity, vulnerability, and coercion?
We invite abstracts from papers that analyze and problematize various traveling public health models, particularly in respect to critical intersections, be they theoretical or ethnographic. Please submit an abstract (200 words) to the organizers by SUNDAY, MARCH 15.
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