Chair of Anthropology and Global Health

Outline of the Chair

The Interdisciplinary Chair in Anthropology and Global Health of the College of Global Studies examines key issues in global health at the crossroads of biomedical and social science. Our era has seen both spectacular advances in the biosciences, even as dramatic health inequalities have come to light. Molecular biology and the information sciences have provided new tools for mapping health and disease across the globe. The Chair will explore new perspectives on the human and the social through the prism of genetic, molecular and epidemiological mapping, aiming to develop what we tentatively call a ‘bioscience of society’. The explosive growth of the biosciences has already drawn anthropological scrutiny. Clinics, laboratories, global health projects have provided ethnographic fieldsites. This biopolitical terrain has allowed anthropologists to decrypt the interpenetration of the biological and the social and the new forms of power that coalesce through the government of life itself. This anthropology has called into question some of the truths of biomedicine as it is practiced today: the universality of the human body, life itself as the ultimate arbiter of the ethical, the moral irreproachability of humanitarian action, the interiority of the subject. The Chair’s field of enquiry will draw on, interrogate, and further the emerging biosciences of society and the anthropology of the biosciences.