Good Earth: Exploring the Old Lead Belt
Lead mining in southeast Missouri is more than just an industry. It is an ingrained and defning aspect of the environment and community. In 1719, when French explorer Philip Francois Renault discovered high concentrations of lead in the region, he was unaware that he had stumbled across the largest lead deposit in the world. One […]
Zika and Microcephaly: Can We Learn from History?
Brazil is facing an epidemic of a severe birth defect: microcephaly (abnormally small head size), a condition linked with important neurological impairments and developmental delays. Not all children born with an abnormally small circumference of the head suffer from these problems, but many do. The microcephaly epidemic has been linked to an infection with the […]
Jamaica: A Queer Place
The dump in Riverton has started burning again. A stinking heap of tires, plastic, chemicals, and other run-off, piled high as if an altar to the consumptive labors of residents of Kingston and its surrounding parishes, has confounded slack-handed and resourced-challenged responses to this now familiar but more ferocious blaze sending children to hospital, forcing […]
Health Workers’ Lives On The Line
In December, nine Pakistani health workers, most of them women, were murdered as they went door-to-door delivering polio vaccines to the children of their neighbors. Media attention to this event has focused on the fact that the CIA recently used a fake vaccination campaign as a cover when searching for Bin Laden, claiming to be […]
Breastfeeding in the Classroom
Adrienne Pine was in a jam. The assistant anthropology professor at American University was about to begin teaching “Sex, Gender & Culture,” but her baby daughter woke up in the morning with a fever. The single mother worried that she had no good child-care options. So Pine brought her sick baby to class. The […]
An Anthropologist to Head the World Bank?
The White House named Jim Yong Kim as its nominee to head to World Bank. Jim Yong Kim is the president of Dartmouth College, an anthropologist, a physician and a global health expert. This nomination forms a radical break from the traditional profiles of the World Bank leaders. Shall this appointment be approved, this would be […]
Speaking to Voice of America, Medical Anthropologist Elise Johansen joins the widespread call to end Female Genital Mutilation: …FGM, a practice which dates back thousands of years, persists despite widespread recognition of its harmful physical and psychological effects on girls and women. Involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, FGM’s immediate health […]
Does Height Matter?
The New York Times’ Room for Debate opinion section asks “Do We Want to Be Supersize Humans? If human bodies become taller, bigger and longer-living — is that progress?” Alexandra Brewis, a medical anthropologist, answers: Height conveys all sorts of important meanings about each person’s own development history. A photograph in my office taken two […]
Death in a Family
I am living with a large extended family, an experience that has been both comforting (people are always everywhere) and lonely (what a social misfit I am living so far from my own strong kinship ties!). Seven siblings (now ages 50–35) inherited the house I live in when their parents died. When one of the […]