Medical Anthropology at the Intersections

Histories, Activisms, and Futures

Medical Anthropology at the Intersections

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: July 2012

Anthropology > Medical Anthropology, Medicine and Health, Science and Technology Studies

In this important collection, prominent scholars who helped to establish medical anthropology as an area of study reflect on the field's past, present, and future. In doing so, they demonstrate that medical anthropology has developed dynamically, through its intersections with activism, with other subfields in anthropology, and with disciplines as varied as public health, the biosciences, and studies of race and ethnicity. Each of the contributors addresses one or more of these intersections. Some trace the evolution of medical anthropology in relation to fields including feminist technoscience, medical history, and international and area studies. Other contributors question the assumptions underlying mental health, global public health, and genetics and genomics, areas of inquiry now central to contemporary medical anthropology. Essays on the field's engagements with disability studies, public policy, and gender and sexuality studies illuminate the commitments of many medical anthropologists to public-health and human-rights activism. Essential reading for all those interested in medical anthropology, this collection offers productive insight into the field and its future, as viewed by some of the world's leading medical anthropologists.

. Lawrence Cohen, Didier Fassin, Faye Ginsburg, Marcia C. Inhorn, Arthur Kleinman, Margaret Lock, Emily Martin, Lynn M. Morgan, Richard Parker, Rayna Rapp, Merrill Singer, Emily A. Wentzell


“An assessment of disciplinary progress to date and potential next steps is rejuvenating, rewarding, and necessary. This excellent edited volume, Medical Anthropology at the Intersections, does just that…. [I]t will serve as a valuable learning tool for advanced undergraduate or graduate students. Even for those already familiar with the breadth and depth of each of the contributing scholars’ writing, there is much to be gained from a close read of every chapter.” — Vanessa M. Hildebrand, American Ethnologist

“The contributors have seriously pondered the future of medical anthropology, and their prescriptions are a thread that runs throughout the volume . . . scholars and practitioners in other disciplines will be given a strong grounding in the theoretical and substantive contexts from which medical anthropologists ask their questions.” — Alexandra Widmer, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Medical Anthropology at the Intersections provides an excellent overview of many of the concerns of medical anthropologists both at the theoretical and applied levels fifty years into what has proven to be a dynamic subfield of the parent discipline.” — Hans A. Baer, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"The breadth and scope with which the discipline’s past and present are brought to, together by some of the field’s most influential figures, qualify this volume as essential reading for medical anthropology graduate students at any stage, whether just beginning their training, preparing for comprehensive exams, or doing thesis work." — Laura L. Heinemann, Anthropos

“The quality of the papers is uniformly good. . . .” — Christina Birdsall-Jones, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

“. . .the book has much to offer anyone interested in practically any aspect of the interpretation of health, sickness and medicine in local and global terms.” — Philippa Martyr, Metascience

"A solid addition to medical anthropology, interdisciplinary by nature." — Darryl Stellmach, New Genetics and Society

"A wonderful feat by an eminent group of scholars, this exhilarating book charts medical anthropology's diverse intellectual history and future challenges and shows why the field is so critical for anthropological theory and practice today." — João Biehl, author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

"Imagining the future of medical anthropology, this collection vigorously conveys the theoretical roots of engaged social activisms committed to equity, rights, and sociopolitical change in mental health and humanitarianism, in feminist projects on technoscience and reproduction, and in initiatives related to HIV and sexuality." — Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, coeditor of A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories, Emergent Realities


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University. She is past president of the Society for Medical Anthropology and the author, most recently, of The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East.

Emily A. Wentzell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Medical Anthropology at the Intersections / Marcia C. Inhorn and Emily A. Wentzell 1

Part I. Histories

1. Grafting Together Medical Anthropology, Feminism, and Technoscience / Emily Martin 23

2. Getting at Anthropology through Medical History: Notes on the Consumption of Chinese Embryos and Fetuses in the Western Imagination / Lynn M. Morgan 41

3. Making Peasants Protestant and Other Projects: Medical Anthropology and Its Global Condition / Lawrence Cohen 65

Part II. Queries

4. That Obscure Object of Global Health / Didier Fassin 95

5. Medical Anthropology and Mental Health: Five Questions for the Next Fifty Years / Arthur Kleinman 116

6. From Genetics to Postgenomics and the Discovery of the New Social Body / Margaret Lock 129

Part III. Activisms

7. Anthropology and the Study of Disability Worlds / Rayna Rapp and Faye Ginsburg 163

8. Medical Anthropology and Public Policy: Using Research to Change the World from What It Is to What We Believe it Should Be / Merrill Singer 183

9. Critical Intersections and Engagements: Gender, Sexuality, Health, and Rights in Medical Anthropology / Richard Parker 206

Notes 239

References 251

Contributors 307

Index 313
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5270-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5251-8
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