A medical anthropology blog…

As this is the initial post on Somatosphere, I wanted to write a little about the weblog and our intended focus. The core of this blog is medical anthropology – the majority of the authors are anthropologists who work on medical topics; however, we’re particularly interested in the borders between anthropology and a number of neighboring disciplines: namely, science and technology studies (STS), cultural psychiatry and bioethics. Ultimately the topics which we cover will be up to the individual authors, and I hope that as we develop this weblog as a collaborative project, it will gain its own identity as a space for creative thinking and intellectually stimulating discussion.

My own vantage point on this interdisciplinary nexus is McGill University, where I am currently a postdoc dividing my time between the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry and the Department of Social Studies of Medicine. Both of these are fairly unique interdisciplinary units in which foster some very interesting research and discussions between anthropologists and psychiatrists, neuroscientists, sociologists and historians of science. Hopefully I’ll write about this a bit more in the future.

However, I want to emphasize that this weblog is not my soapbox, but a collective enterprise which will hopefully become a space for intellectual engagement and conversation. In any case, I look forward to developing this site along with my colleagues. If you have any suggestions or are interested in becoming a contributor, please email us at

5 replies on “A medical anthropology blog…”

That’s much appreciated Daniel. Re: your post — it is true that medical anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology more generally, spans or links up the humanities and social sciences. Of course, in practice many individual scholars deliberately place themselves somewhere specific on this continuum — as more of a humanities or soc sci type — although I think this typology is actually quite limiting. My sense is that history occupies a similar disciplinary position — the only difference is that it has traditionally been lumped with the humanities.In any case, thanks for the post!

Welcome to the blogosphere! I’m really pleased to see this blog appear, as a med anthro blog has been sorely needed. I’m no anthropologist, but I am quite familiar with med anthro in general and am also a committed interdisciplinarian as to the culture of medicine. We mentioned your blog here, and I for one look forward to reading y’all long into the future.–Daniel GoldbergMedical Humanities Blog

Hey Eugene,Thanks for the kind words, and you’re absolutely right on the fluidity of the boundaries between the humanities and the social sciences. I also suspect that the ambiguity is increased because knowledge of the philology of the humanities — what are they? what is the significance of the designation? — is generally lacking even for scholars within the humanities. This is not to decry such ambiguity; quite the contrary, I think it is fantastic, though I also believe that better understanding of the roots of the humanities would substantially improve much discourse within the humanities.But hey, I’m obviously biased!

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