Inhaling the field – surgery, smoke, and smells

Renée van der Wiel // Up until that morning I had spent most of my fieldwork in stuffy, linoleum-lined hospital reception areas accompanying women on their clinical treks. We would chat while waiting to hear a “NEXT!”.  But before concluding my ethnography of a public breast cancer clinic in Johannesburg I arranged to spend a…

Listening to patients: learning from sobreparto

Emilie Egger // Imagine calling to check up on a friend who has recently given birth. Five weeks postpartum, she tells you she barely has the energy to get out of bed to take care of her baby. Because her family had moved to a new city for work—away from her support system—her partner couldn’t…

Write/Right About Your Body

Madeleine Mant // I teach Introduction to the Anthropology of Health to an exquisitely diverse group of second-year undergraduate students. The class is a gateway prerequisite to all upper-level health-stream courses, thus it necessitates a balance between the biological and sociocultural aspects of health anthropology. Students are exposed to the work of Gregor Mendel and…

On gratitude, ethnography, & care

Michelle Munyikwa // “Oh, you work with refugees. That’s so wonderful. They must be so grateful!” For several years, I’ve been working with refugees and asylum seekers as part of my dual training as a physician and anthropologist. While there have been many instructive and interesting moments that have taken place within this work, I’d like…