Religion, Race, and Racism: Transnational Conversations Seminar Series, University College London and University of Cambridge
After delivering a talk in this seminar series last September, I had a conversation with the seminar's co-organizer, Johanna Schoen, which became a podcast! To hear us discuss the politics and practices concerning frozen human embryo left over from in vitro fertilization procedures in the United States, of which there are over a million and growing, as well as to hear other conversations from seminar series participants, listen on:
While not teaching this academic year due to research leave, I've enjoyed zooming into classes with engaging undergrads. Dr. Deompampo's course "Reproductive Technologies" is one I'd love to teach myself one day! Students read some published pieces on race & racism in "embryo adoption," and we had a casual seminar-style conversation. Thanks for welcoming me into your class and for sharing your thoughts so generously!
We had fun! I enjoyed zooming into Dr. Valdez's course on "Bodies" to talk with students about a chapter-in-progress from my book manuscript. They were engaged and had provocative questions and comments. Thanks for letting me share my work with you!
New essay! 'Which Lives Matter? Pro-Life Politics during a Pandemic,' Medical Anthropology Quarterly Critical Issues Blog Series
Sophie Bjork-James (Vanderbilt) and I co-authored the essay 'Which Lives Matter? Pro-Life Politics during a Pandemic' for the Medical Anthropology Quarterly Critical Care blog series, which focuses on the upcoming general election. Our first draft of this essay, submitted on Sept 11, reported 176,000 COVID deaths in America. Three weeks later, we had to update the number to over 200,000. All under the leadership of America's most 'pro-life' President.
As anthropologists of reproductive politics and white evangelical Christians in the United States, we are aware of the power of "saving" rhetoric among the pro-life advocates. We live in Southern and Midwest states, respectively, where COVID rates are surging, our universities deem in-person teaching a "duty," and our elected officials are extremely hostile to reproductive rights and justice. This essay examines what pro-life has come to mean during this pandemic.
For those who watched the first presidential debate tonight, the future of abortion rights, systemic racism, and ‘law and order’ rhetoric were all major topics of discussion. They also figure centrally in explaining what ‘pro-life’ means in American politics these days. Check out our take here. Thank you to the series editor Amber Benezra for inviting us to contribute!
Learn more about the Life/Death seminar here and the broad range of scholars participating in the ongoing conversation. Thanks again!
I've been co-organizing a two-day workshop with collaborators at the University of Cambridge focused on "State Righteousness: Intersecting Politics of Reproduction, Religion, and Right-Wing Nationalisms" planned for May 18-19 in Cambridge. Like many in-person gatherings around the world, we had to postpone. Travel tickets were already purchased for a dozen participants from around the world, rooms reserved, garden walks and dinner plans well underway. Sigh.
The workshop is an outgrowth of a collaboration between the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, Margaret Anstee Center for Global Studies, and Woolf Institute. I planned to spend May-June in Cambridge as a Sir Mick and Lady Barbara Davis Visiting Fellow with the Woolf Institute and help put on the workshop with my co-conspirator, Lea Taragin-Zeller. With everything on hold, we are taking a pause to orient ourselves and will consider alternative ways to convene once get our bearings. Stay tuned.
3rd International Conference of the Society for Medical Anthropology/ANTROPOS, Havana, Cuba TRIP CANCELLED
The letter below from SMA President, Charles Briggs, summarized what I missed. Sadly though wisely, SfAA cancelled its Spring 2020 meeting, which is another professional home for medical anthropologists. We are all looking forward to figuring out what kinds of conferencing options will be possible as this pandemic unfolds.
The SMA/ANTROPOS 2020 meeting in Havana, which concluded last night, was spectacular from start to finish. It is somewhat remarkable that it happened at all: If the three Italian tourists had been diagnosed in Cuba with COVID 19 before the beginning of the conference, I think that it would have been cancelled. In Cuban rhetorical style, let me start with some statistics: Given that a number of those who had sent in abstracts were unfortunately unable to come-and were certainly missed-it is notable that the event still included 159 participants from 23 countries. SMA's program consisted of 21 sessions with 85 oral presentations, 27 posters, and a film. The opening day of SMA's program featured an online presentation by Latin America's leading figure in medical anthropology, Eduardo Menéndez, followed by presentations on Menéndez's work by Cuban anthropologists, public health scholars and practitioners, and others, including a Pan American Health Organization official. The three principal themes were social determination of health from social medicine, critical epidemiology, and critical medical anthropology perspectives; sexual and reproductive rights and health; and intercultural health and indigenous movements. The activities also consisted of concerts, including by a youth orchestra, a banquet and dance, and a trip to the Anthropological Museum Montané. Past-President Arachu Castro deserves our sincere thanks for the massive commitment of time and energy to make the meeting possible and for sustaining its organization and spirit in the face of viral efforts to derail it. SMA Treasurer Jessica Mulligan helped immensely with the complex financial arrangements, and SMA members Elise Andaya and Carolyn Smith-Morris and National School of Public Health Professor Zoe Díaz Bernal assisted Arachu on the Program Committee. I was very pleased to be able to meet a number of scholars who lead Latin American medical anthropology associations and groups; they are very interested in exploring ways of collaborating with us in the future. In sum, SMA owes deep gratitude to Arachu for launching this impressive initiative in linking medical anthropologies worldwide.
"Science & Technology in the Long 20th Century" Conference, Department of History, Purdue University
This gathering was brain candy for me and a warm welcome to Purdue soon after arriving. On behalf of the History Department, Dr. Mary Mitchell and Dr. Sharra Vostral coordinated a creative intellectual experience by bringing bright minds from across campus, disciplines, and the world together to discuss science and technology. Organizers curated a dynamic conditions for conversation and cross-pollination set over a couple of days focused around a few roundtable themes: Gender, Sport, Environment, Violence, Information and Material World, and Biology. We heard keynotes by Susan Lindee and Sharra Vostral, and enjoyed meals and campus walks together. I didn't know what to expect when preparing my 5min flash presentation for the Gender & STEM roundtable, but found everyone to be engaged and engaging, curious and generative thinkers.