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Book Review: Prescribing HIV Prevention: Bringing Culture into Global Health Communication

In Nicola Bulled’s new book, Prescribing HIV Prevention, she challenges a basic assumption of public health research—that knowledge impacts behavior. Bulled uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the impact that multiple competing sources of information about HIV prevention has on Basotho people’s knowledge about HIV, their sense of risk, and their sexual relationships. […]

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Book Review: Namibia’s Rainbow Project: Gay Rights in African Nation

Namibia’s Rainbow Project is a unique ethnographic book about the way an organization working for sexual health and rights recognition takes actions in an African country. The book is based on ethnography of many years among the Rainbow project (TRP), an organization active in the health and sexual rights sector in Namibia. It focuses on […]

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Book Review: In This Body: Kaqchikel Maya and the Grounding of Spirit

Servando Hinojosa’s ethnography explores the bodily basis of spiritual knowing among Kaqchikel Maya people of San Juan Comalapa, a community in the highlands of central Guatemala. Hinojosa takes as his lead how many local Maya people themselves speak about spiritual experiences, which they often describe in terms of the body. The author pursues this exploration […]

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Book Review: The Weight of Obesity: Hunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala

Obesity is now a truly global phenomenon, and many lower- and middle-income nations are advancing their own “war on fat.” In Guatemala, as Yates-Doerr discusses in the opening of The Weight of Obesity, this war can seem very literal. The military, responsible for 36 years of atrocities and human rights violations during the civil war, […]

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Book Review: Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice

The anthropology of humanitarianism has grown steadily in the past decade, drawing from work in medical anthropology, the study of international development, historical studies of aid, and other bodies of scholarship to constitute an emerging field in its own right. A number of edited volumes have presented the work of anthropologists around the world working […]

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Book Review: Biomedicine in an Unstable Place: Infrastructure and Personhood in a Papua New Guinean Hospital

Alice Street has undertaken a difficult and delicate task in writing an ethnography of a public hospital in Papua New Guinea: How should one represent an institution charged with caring for and, ideally, healing the sick when it often fails at this task and is painfully lacking the resources (human, financial, infrastructural, technological) necessary for […]

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Book Review: HIV Exceptionalism: Development through Disease in Sierra Leone

As the Sierra Leonean civil war came to an end in 2002 and much of the humanitarian infrastructure and attention shifted away, the Sierra Leonean government and in-country NGOs were forced to reckon with a changing landscape of funding and an ambitious post-war development agenda. That very same period marked an unprecedented proliferation of momentum […]

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Book Review: Improvising Medicine

This is a book about basic human problems—the problems of suffering, of pain, of caretaking, of relationship—as they play out in a particularly demanding venue: the cancer ward at Princess Marina Hospital, in Gaborone, Botswana. Biomedicine at PMH is locally contextualized, even as it is linked to a global system of knowledge and clinical practice. […]

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Book Review: All in Your Head: Making Sense of Pediatric Pain

All in Your Head comes in the wake of an incredible amount of recent scholarly attention to the topic of pain, yet Mara Buchbinder finds a unique anthropological voice that is subtle and distinctive in her exploration of the treatment of pediatric pain. Buchbinder’s approach is not phenomenological––though attention to private experience and internal states […]

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Book Review: After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed

Zoë Wool’s After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed offers an ethnographically rich, theoretically nuanced, and compulsively readable analysis of the experiences of injured soldiers at one of the nation’s most iconic medical centers. Wool draws on anthropological studies of conflict, trauma, affect, and disability to probe the daily lives of a group […]

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