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Life/NonLife Revived

Earthquakes. Taxidermy. Ghosts. Climate Change. These phenomena, some exceptional and some quotidian, all challenge the stability and salience of ‘life’ as an ethnographic category.  Lacking empirical traction and heuristic power, the distinction between life and nonlife is one that anthropology needs to discard.

This was the motion for a debate that closed the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Association of …

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Books

The limits of medical heroism: reflections on Getting to Zero

Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline

By Sinead Walsh and Oliver Johnson

Zed Books, 2018. 352 pages.

It is midnight and my five-month-old son, who has been sick with diarrhea for two days, is finally breathing evenly beside me. I should be sleeping. Instead, I am fretting, turning over  the intimate logics of medical responses to …

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Ebola Afterlives

This article is part of the following series:

Image by Eva Vernooij

Adiatu[1], a young Sierra Leonean laboratory scientist, turns on the light in the high risk room of the molecular unit of the recently renovated laboratory in Sierra Leone’s largest governmental hospital. The sterile, all-white laboratory space is filled with high-end equipment for the detection of Ebola virus. The biosafety cabinets, -80°C freezers, hotplates and …

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Books

Andrew Lakoff’s Unprepared: Global Health in a Time of Emergency

Unprepared: Global Health in a Time of Emergency

Andrew Lakoff

University of California Press, 2017. 240 pages.

 

Let us be frank: it is hard to think preparedness in the medical humanities without thinking of Andrew Lakoff. Over the ten years since the publication of his first piece on the subject (2007), Lakoff has developed, expanded and refined the critical …

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Features

ReEBOV: Developing an Ebola rapid diagnostic test at research ground zero

This article is part of the following series:

In June 2015, as Sierra Leone and Guinea was experiencing new surges in clusters of Ebola virus cases, Nature published a news article asking why an inexpensive test that “could save lives” was not being deployed to the field. Indeed, while it seemed obvious to many policy makers and health experts that Ebola rapid diagnostic tests were urgently needed, the …

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Features

The “Good-Enough Anthropologist”

“Where are all the anthropologists?” The question came from public health worker Douglas Hamilton on the first day of the Princeton-Fung Global Forum on Ebola, held in November 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. There, the place of anthropology in the recent outbreak was touched on by the first speaker, and swiftly become one of, if not the, recurring themes of …

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