Are you an anthropologist with a COVID19 related project?

CAGH and Anthropological Responses to Health Emergencies is hosting a get together to promote discussion, networking and collaboration. If you are interested in attending, please fill out this form:

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Call for papers for a Special Issue on ‘Performing Health Systems’

The call for a Special Issue on ‘Performing Health Systems’ is now live.  Briefly summarised:

This special issue of Social Science and Medicine invites critical and creative dialogue between health systems researchers and anthropologists on the central motif that defines the field – the insistence on the existence of the system and the need to find and identify what is systemic.  We invite empirical and conceptual papers from social scientists and health systems researchers that critically examine constructs of ‘the system’ and the assumptions these embody, the range of methods commonly used to grasp the ‘systemic’ in health systems research, and the implications of systems thinking for understanding the roles, relationships, and responses of health systems actors.

We encourage contributions that illustrate how a broader range of evidence – including the ethnographic – can highlight relational aspects of ‘health systems performance’, including how systems performance targets and indicators engender particular logics and exchanges of labour, power and capital within the health system.  Conversely, we are looking for contributions that elucidate how ‘systems thinking’ and method might drive anthropological analysis across different scales and introduce complexity into the study of classification, routines, and relations of health care.


The Social Science & Medicine link to the longer description and guidelines for submission is at:


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2020 Virchow Award Winners

Each year, the Critical Anthropology for Global Health (CAGH) special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology gives out the Rudolf Virchow Awards, which recognize papers that reflect, extend, or advance critical perspectives in medical anthropology in the general area of global public health. In keeping with the legacy of Virchow’s work, which recognized advocacy as an essential part of health practice, the award encourages work from scholars at all levels that combines critical anthropology with rich ethnographic data to understand the complex factors that influence health. Each year, CAGH selects winners in three categories: professional, graduate, and undergraduate.

This year we are particularly grateful to our committee of scholars who judged the award: Michelle Parsons (chair), Jennifer Carroll, Ashish Premkumar, and Nora Kenworthy

This year’s Virchow Award Winners are:

  • Undergraduate award: Chris Magana of the University of California San Diego, for “Beyond Family Separation: The (Anti)Politics of Care and Pathways of Resistance within U.S. Immigration Detention” Chris Magana’s paper offers a stunning and particularly timely look at contemporary US immigration policies. With a laser-sharp analysis of policy documents, public statements, and investigative reports, Mr. Magana brings into stark relief the hypocrisy of moral outrage over family separations that places children in detention at the apex of a “hierarchy of suffering” that “delegitimizes the overtly political suffering—and agency—of people in immigration detention engaged in hunger strikes.” These questions of whose suffering matters—and is recognized—become all the more important as Magana examines the response to COVID-19 within detention facilities and resistance efforts among detainees. Written at a particularly uncertain time for detained immigrants and for in-person fieldwork, this paper offers a remarkable example of how anthropologies of policy and politics can tackle tough subjects intimately, humanely, but from a (physical) distance.


  • Graduate award: Emily Vasquez of Columbia University, for “Detecting diabetes risk: Philanthropy, technology, and epistemic power in Mexico” In this tightly crafted ethnographic analysis of public-private partnerships for public health in Mexico, Emily Vasquez shows how the philanthropic activities of the financial elite can alter the scientific landscape of health. Rather than adopting the holistic approach to health endorsed by a public health approach, private foundations set up to distribute the financial largess of contemporary oligarchs—in this case the Carlos Slim Foundation—succeed in shifting biomedical inquiry away from structural drivers of health disparities and onto the microbiology of non-communicable disease, seeking to discover and leverage genetic testing strategies and metabolic biomarkers to build a public health system that privileges the individual—rather than the social and capitalist forces at play around that individual—as a site of illness. This paper paints a stark picture of what happens to public health when vital research funding is controlled by private interests—subverted from public coffers through lucrative tax laws and exempt from public accountability as it is spent. For elite philanthropists, this is a double win: their public reputation is improved through their charitable work and the broader public health agenda is drawn away from the structural features of the capitalist system that both produce health inequity and enable the financial success of the Foundation’s primary namesakes. Ironically, therefore, public health is made remarkably poorer by the injections of cash from these foundations, as necessary work in public health science is often left “undone” when private capital drives the agenda.


  • Professional award: Talia R. Weiner of the University of West Georgia, for “Billable services and the ‘therapeutic fee’: On the work of disavowal of political economy and its re-emergence in clinical practice” Weiner has captured a unique and innovative perspective: that of the role of transaction and capital within psychotherapy in the United States. Her meditation on the structure of exchange and the structuring of clinical therapy has important implications for how we, in critical medical anthropology, consider examining the experience of treatment – both from a phenomenological and a political economy perspective. Reviewers felt that this piece hailed from the best traditions of anthropological writing, describing it as “classic” in that it used a minute detail to deftly describe wider consequences of healthcare restructuring, governmental retrenchment, and, importantly, the economy of care. The work has crucial implications for how we think about repair, recovery, and the state of treatment of mental health not only in the United States, but also globally given the increased awareness and use of mental health professionals in a variety of clinical settings. This piece truly embodies the spirit of Rudolf Virchow by connecting social theory and critical public health in a nuanced and crucial way. (This article was recently published in Anthropological Quarterly –


Congratulations to this year’s winners! As always, please encourage students and colleagues to apply for this award in 2021.



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Call for Book Proposals! Global Change/Global Health

Call for Book Proposals!

for the New Book Series
Global Change/Global Health:
Revealing Critical Interactions between Social and Environmental Processes

The Global Change/Global Health book series seeks single-authored monographs exploring the interplay between the wellbeing of Earth’s people and the planet’s changing nature. We invite proposals from researchers who are studying the intersections of global change and global health. We encourage proposals from authors with manuscripts at any stage of development.

At the intersection of global change analyses and global health studies, this book series frames global change and human health as direct and indirect causes and consequences of each other. Human responses to the continuous transformations in the Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, and land involve biopsychosocial shifts in human communities. Ongoing macroecological dynamics cause shifts in the planet’s temperature; atmospheric and hydrologic cycles; terrestrial systems; and in weather and climate. These dynamics lead to changes in human diseases, illnesses, and injuries; food and nutrition; stress and trauma disorders (from extreme events and natural disasters) and other mental health issues; social, cultural, and intellectual wellbeing; settlement, mobility, and demography; reproduction and adaptation; and symbols, meanings and values associated with landscape features, places, and processes. The Global Change/Global Health series explores the interactions between humans and the Earth by publishing monographs written by scholars working in the social, behavioral, and health sciences.

Please contact Cynthia Fowler ( and Elizabeth Olson ( to receive a full description of the series. Book proposal guidelines are attached.

Book Proposal Guidelines

1. Title page

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author’s Name(s)
  • Three or four lines describing the book2. Manuscript details
  • A 150-word summary of the book
  • Estimated length in number of words
  • Estimated length in number of pages (double-spaced in 10 point Courier)
  • Anticipated number and kind of illustrations
  • Anticipated manuscript delivery date

3. Contents

  • Table of contents
  • Title and paragraph description of each of the chapters in the proposed book
  • Approximate number of pages for each chapter in double-spaced format (10 point Courier) 

4. Sample Chapters

  • Introduction
  • One or two sample chapters if completed


5. Author

  • A brief narrative of your research
  • If previously published, quotes from reviews of your work or sales figures of your earlier work
  • Curriculum Vitae or resumé
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Call for Papers! Politics and Pandemics.

Special Issue:  Politics & Pandemics


Global Public Health invites the submission of articles for a special issue on the theme Politics & Pandemics   

This special issue will examine the political dimensions of pandemics (primarily but not exclusively) in relation to COVID-19. It will also be open to papers that explore – either comparatively or individually – other pandemic and epidemic outbreaks that raise similar political questions. A broad range of disciplinary perspectives will be presented, giving consideration to the ways in which economic, social and cultural factors intersect with the politics of pandemics, both globally and in specific national and local settings.

Above all, the issue will seek to highlight the influence of power, capitalism and the importance of inequalities in shaping the course of the COVID-19 and other pandemics, as well as collective responses. We invite submissions that explore a broad range of topics running from governance and policy to surveillance and public health programs and interventions.

It will offer insights into the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting long-standing assumptions and power relations in the field of global public health – and the extent to which confronting it will require the reinvention of this field as it has taken shape in the early 21st century. 

Submissions may explore these themes broadly or address them through focused studies on topics including, but not limited to:

1.      Critical analytical and historic analyses of global governance systems in relation to pandemics and pandemic responses

2.      Empirical studies of the political consequences of emerging pandemics, both globally and locally

3.      Case studies of political battlegrounds and tensions shaping the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in specific regions, countries or cities

4.      Comparative studies of the political forces and processes shaping the response to the COVID-19 pandemic across a number of different sites

5.      Analyses of the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and recent trends in populist politics, political polarization and rupture in liberal democracies

6.      Examinations of the pandemic’s relation with and impact on global commerce, intellectual property rights, and the governance of public health emergencies

7.      Critical analyses of the political economy of contemporary capitalist formations, the role of Big Pharma and the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

8.      Studies of social responses to emerging pandemics, including panic, stigma and discrimination, innovation and solidarity

9.      Analyses and original research of the impact of the pandemic on the political economy of gender and sexuality, including markets, medias, networks and mobilizations

10.    Studies on the impact of COVID-19 on science, biomedical research and business and economic interests that both structure and flow out of the research enterprise.

11.    Assessment into the role of technology, surveillance and COVID-19 related data collection, with particular attention to who gets counted and why

12.    Studies focusing on the role of state and non-state actors in politics and policy related to pandemic responses, including attention to the role of CBOs and NGOs, philanthropic organizations and academic institutions

13.    Historical and comparative studies of earlier pandemics and epidemic outbreaks (such as Influenza, HIV, Ebola, Zika and/or others) and the current COVID-19 pandemic  

Abstract submission by July 15th, 2020:  Please submit unstructured abstracts of 200 words maximum for consideration to by July 15th, 2020, with e-mail subject line “Politics and Pandemics Special Issue Abstract”.  Include a working title, abstract, author names, their primary affiliations, and a contact e-mail address. 

Authors selected for submission of full manuscripts will be notified by August 15th, 2020.  Selected authors should submit full manuscripts by October 15th, 2020, following the submission instructions available on the journal’s website ( 

Please note that all submissions must be made in English.  Unfortunately, the journal does not have the necessary resources to publish in other languages, and we are therefore able to accept submissions only in English.

Enquiries:  For enquiries, please email

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Dear CAGH members,

The AAA/CASCA starts next week. Here are a few events to look out for:

CAGH Business Meeting

  • Friday, November 22, 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM, Location: Vancouver CC WEST, Room 101 & 102
  • Please feel free to send us additional agenda items. Our current agenda is as follows:
    • Introductions
    • AAA panels of note
    • new projects
    • Vanderbilt series announcement
    • VIRCHOW winners and Virchow committee for next year
    • Take a Stand topics of interest
    • AAA 2020 round table on global health careers
    • mentorship activities for upcoming year, closing remarks

Society for Med Anthro Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony

  • 11/22/2019 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Location: Vancouver CC WEST | Ballroom B  | West Level 1


We hope to see you in Vancouver!


Amy and Nora


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Please take 1-2 minutes to fill out this SMA form on SIG Membership

The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) supports SIGs as an important part of strengthening communication and collaboration among scholars based on topical interests. As a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), we report our membership demographics to the SMA board, which helps them determine SIG status and resource allocation. In an effort to promote and streamline SIG membership, we are collecting data on membership using a single form.

The form is available through November 10th. The form is very brief – about 1-2 minutes to fill out! It will be used to establish memberships in all the SIGs. We ask that all CAGH members who would like to be part of a SIG(s) fill out this form whether you are currently a member of a SIG(s) or not. If you do not fill out the form by November 10th, you may be removed from (or not added to) your SIG(s)’ roster.

Please note : You do NOT need to be a member of SMA or AAA to continue your membership in CAGH. Simply indicate on the form whether you are a member of SMA/AAA or not and select the appropriate SIG(s) in which you would like to maintain membership.

You will only need to fill out this form once per year. Please direct any questions/comments to Elizabeth Wirtz <>.

You can find the form here. Or copy and paste the following into your browser:


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Virchow Competition is now open. Submissions due June 15 @ 12PM PST.

2019 Rudolf Virchow Awards—Critical Anthropology for Global Health

Rudolf Virchow, a 19th century German physician and anthropologist, was a key founder of social medicine. His contributions centered on his recognition that multiple intersecting factors—social, political, and economic—produce disease and illness. He argued that the circumstances and deprivations of poverty increase people’s susceptibility to disease and result in reduced life expectancy and quality of life. He eloquently articulated the limits of medicine in the absence of material security, a sentiment which informed his view that nation-states play an important role in ensuring health security for a citizenry. Virchow viewed advocacy as an essential part of health praxis, and, in keeping with this legacy, the Critical Anthropology for Global Health (CAGH) Special Interest Group honors Virchow’s work with three awards.

The annual Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by the Critical Anthropology for Global Health Caucus, a special interest group of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Each year there are three awards for individuals at different stages in their careers as medical anthropologists: (1) the Professional Award honors a recent published article in a professional journal; (2) the Graduate Student Award honors a paper that was written between 2018 and 2019 and has not yet been submitted to a journal; (3) the Undergraduate Student Award honors a paper written during a student’s undergraduate career and has not been published. There are prizes of $100 for each student winner.


Winning submissions combine a critical anthropology focus with rich ethnographic data, and best reflect, extend, and/or advance critical perspectives in medical anthropological questions in the general area of global public health. All winners will be honored at the SMA business meeting at the American Anthropological Association meetings.


The submission deadline for the 2019 Rudolf Virchow Awards is June 15, 2019.

We encourage you to submit your own work and/or to nominate papers of your students or articles of colleagues. If you wish to submit a paper for consideration, please e-mail the paper and a cover letter of introduction to the Virchow Awards Review Committee at by June 15, 2019. Hard copies are no longer accepted. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. To ensure a prompt and fair review, papers will not be accepted after the June 15, 2019 12 pm PST deadline. Winners will be contacted by September 1, 2019.

Professional Award Category

The professional award will be awarded for an article or chapter published during 2018 or 2019 in a peer-reviewed journal (print or online) or peer-reviewed edited volume. Articles may be singly- or co-authored. Technical reports and other contracted works are not considered for this award. Professional articles must be submitted electronically in Adobe PDF format as they appeared in print.

Graduate Award Category

The graduate student award will be awarded for a paper that was written between 2018 and 2019 and that has not yet been subjected to editorial review. Papers that have been submitted to a journal or edited volume, but that have not yet benefited from review may be included in this category. Theses and dissertations will not be accepted. However, a summary no longer than 30 pages double-spaced (inclusive of references) of a thesis or a dissertation that can stand on its own, or a chapter that has been revised to stand on its own will be considered for this award. Papers from students who have graduated are still accepted in this category as long as the paper was written in 2018 or 2019. Graduate student papers must be submitted in Adobe PDF or Word format with a title-only first page. File sizes must be less than 2MB. The document must exclude the author’s name, author’s advisor, and university affiliation throughout. The cover letter should include this information. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered for this award.

Undergraduate Award Category

The undergraduate student award will be awarded for a paper written in 2018 or 2019 while the student was still an undergraduate. Honors theses are not accepted. However, a shortened version no longer than 30 pages double-spaced (inclusive of references) of the thesis or a chapter from the thesis that has been revised to stand on its own will be considered for this award. Undergraduate student papers must be submitted in Adobe PDF or Word format with a title-only first page. File sizes must be less than 2MB. The document must exclude the author’s name, author’s advisor, and university affiliation throughout. The cover letter should include this information. Only papers, not interactive media, will be considered for this award.



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CAGH Newsletter

Dear CAGH Members –

On the heels of our meeting in San Jose, we wanted to send several important updates regarding leadership, this year’s initiatives, and Virchow Award winners. Thanks to those who joined us in person at the meetings. If you were not there and wish to remain involved in this year’s initiatives, please see below for further information.


Outgoing / Incoming Leadership:

First, we want to give thanks to Sara Lewis and Peter Brown, who served as co-chairs of CAGH over the past three years and led a number of important initiatives. We are so thankful to them for their leadership. We (Amy Dao and Nora Kenworthy) will be taking over the reins as co-chairs this year. Please be in touch with us about any CAGH-related business (;


Upcoming CAGH Initiatives:

Each year, CAGH solicits information from members about topical initiatives they would like to lead. Oftentimes, these become ‘Take a Stand’ initiatives, and eventually, written pieces or collections. For information on past Take a Stand statements, see: CAGH members who are interested in initiating or leading a Take a Stand initiative for the coming year should email Amylm.dao@gmail.comor njk8@uw.eduwith ideas. We can talk you through the process and connect you with other faculty who may be interested in working on similar topics.


There was also some discussion at the meeting this year of putting teaching materials and current bibliographic materials on the CAGH website to share with other scholars. As this work moves forward we will send further updates. Anyone interested in contributing to this effort should reach out to us via email.


Virchow Award Winners:

Each year, the Rudolf Virchow Awards are given by CAGH for individuals at three stages of their careers as medical anthropologists: undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals. In keeping with Virchow’s legacy, the award is given to work that combine a critical anthropology focus with rich ethnographic data, and best reflect, extend or advance critical perspectives on medical anthropology and global public health. This year’s Virchow Award submissions were particularly numerous and outstanding, demonstrating the many remarkable projects anthropologists are carrying out in critical global health. We are thankful to the award committee of Emily Mendenhall, Lauren Carruth, and Nora Kenworthy and to additional reviewer Laura Meeks for their considerable efforts in reviewing the many submissions.


While this year’s Virchow Award winners were announced briefly at the SMA meetings, we wanted to also highlight their work here. They are:


Undergraduate Award – Sabine Shaughnessy, for her paper “Reproductive Rationalities and Realities of Havana, Cuba during the Post-Fidel Transition.” This paper beautifully wove together ethnographic imagery and theory with topics of vital importance to medical anthropology, and more specifically, reproductive and sexual health.


Graduate Award – Raphael Frankfurter, for his paper “Conjuring Biosecurity in the Post-Ebola Kissi Triangle: The Magic of Paperwork in a Frontier Clinic.” This paper demonstrated a deep engagement with individuals, their stories, and their concerns about healthcare and medicine in a place where these aspects of medicine were often lost – and offers important and vital lessons about contemporary global health practices.


The Professional award was given to two papers in this year’s highly competitive category:

Elizabeth Roberts, for her paper, “What gets inside: Violent Entanglements and Toxic Boundaries in Mexico City” (Cultural Anthropology). This piece significantly advances the fields of anthropology, global health, and science and technology studies by considering the entanglements of everyday life, health, and toxicity in Mexico City. Her ethnographic prose was particularly striking, encouraging readers to think anew about biology, toxins, the environment, agency, and embodied inequities. This was extraordinary work, in both its intelligence and clarity in considering an understudied domain of global health.


Thurka Sangaramoorthy, for her paper “Putting Band-aids on Things that Need Stitches: Immigration and the Landscape of Care in Rural America” (American Anthropologist). This paper was especially striking in its demonstration of what it means to do exemplary global health and social justice scholarship in the US. Her use of ethnography to shed light on the meanings and functions of “band-aids” offers an essential conceptual tool for future medical anthropology, and for understanding the healthcare of underserved populations in the US. This paper was novel as well for its engagement with multiple communities of immigrants and providers who nonetheless intersect within the gaps and inadequacies of the US healthcare system.


Congratulations to all of the award winners!

We are currently seeking volunteers to serve as reviewers for this year’s upcoming Virchow Awards review committee. The commitment is relatively short and involves reading papers such as these and many other fine submissions. Please email Amylm.dao@gmail.comor njk8@uw.eduif you are interested in reviewing for any of these categories of papers. Junior or student scholars are welcome!


A call for the 2019 Virchow Awards will go out in the spring. Please keep encouraging undergraduate and graduate students to submit their work.


Thanks to all of you, and looking forward to working with you in the year ahead –


Amy Dao & Nora Kenworthy

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Job Announcement at Central Washington University

The Department of Anthropology and Museum Studies in the College of the Sciences at Central Washington University invites applications for a tenure track, full-time position in medical anthropology, to begin September 16, 2019. We are seeking a sociocultural anthropologist with expertise in critical medical anthropology and global health. The successful candidate must be grounded in ethnographic methodologies, have prior teaching experience, and have a PhD in hand by April 15, 2019. We prefer candidates who are broadly trained to address issues of health from mixed-method perspectives and at different scales, with expertise in environment and health, social epidemiology, health disparities, social justice, migration and health, and/or medical pluralism. Geographical area is open, but areas of particular interest include Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East.
Find out more here:
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