Introduction: Human Animal Health in Medical Anthropology

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This introductory article maps out the parameters of an emerging field of medical anthropology, human animal health, and its potential for reorienting the discipline. Ethnographic explorations of how animals are implicated in health, well‐being, and pathogenicity allow us to revisit theorizations of central topics in medical anthropology, notably ecology, biopolitics, and care. Meanwhile, the conditions of the Anthropocene force us to develop new tools to think about human animal entanglement. Anthropogenic change reorients debates around health and disease, but it also requires us to move beyond what some consider the traditional boundaries of the discipline. Zoonotic diseases, veterinary medicine, animal therapeutics, and food and farming are examples of topics that force such movement.

 

Farmers and chickens in Western Nicaragua. Credit: Alex Nading

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