US Military Burn Pits and the Politics of Health

by Kenneth MacLeish, Medicine, Health, and Society and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University and Zoë H. Wool, Department of Anthropology, Rice University   On June 7, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs (HCVA) held the first ever hearing on the health effects of the US military’s overseas burn pits. Most Americans have never heard of a burn […]

Continue Reading

The Anthropology of “Boring” Things

Curated by Marieke van Eijk, University of Washington       Stacks of unbillable patient visits. Insurance cards. Medical codes. Telephones. Frequently Asked Questions databases. These objects do not often spike people’s imagination and are easily reduced to being merely “boring.” Often times such “boring” objects like paperwork, tax returns, standards, plugs, and labels are […]

Continue Reading

Financial Stories of “Boring” Medical Codes

by Marieke van Eijk, University of Washington In her TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns of the Dangers of a Single Story (https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/transcript). She talks about her childhood growing up in Nigeria and of Fide, her family’s house boy. Her mother had told her that Fide’s family was poor. When Adichie visited Fide’s village she […]

Continue Reading

The Heavy Boredom of Medical Infrastructure

by Michael Esveldt, University of Washington Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so. After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns, we ourselves flash and yearn, and moreover my mother told me as a boy (repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored means you have no Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have […]

Continue Reading

The Voice of the Phone Tree

by Shannon Satterwhite, UCSF San Francisco Fieldnote, Primary Care Clinic, Monday Morning: I am sitting in the nurses’ station, which holds three computers and a printer, as well as cupboards of supplies. The space is narrow and I am only a few feet behind two of the registered nurses who work side by side at […]

Continue Reading

FAQs in the Field: From Boring Objects to Faceless Social Relations

by Robert Frey, Columbia University What is the Defense Base Act (DBA)? This question begins the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of a website about a workers’ compensation insurance program. FAQs are lists of questions and answers that offer readers commonly sought information about one or more topics. The DBA FAQ addresses topics such as […]

Continue Reading

Ngyiampaa Non-Compliance with Boring Medicare Cards

by Daniela Heil, University of Newcastle, Australia   In Australia, public health insurance cards are known as Medicare cards. The name of the public health insurer is Medicare, and both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, including permanent Australian residents use and are familiar with the card. Ngyiampaa Aboriginal Australians consider these Medicare cards ‘boring objects’ because […]

Continue Reading

New at MAQ!

Have you heard about Lissa, the ethno-graphic collaboration between medical anthropologists Sherine Hamdy and Coleman Nye? The story follows an American and an Egyptian girl in Cairo who navigate class difference, revolutionary struggle, family health crises, and medical uncertainty. The book offers an exciting new way to teach medical anthropology, and is filled with resources […]

Continue Reading

Lissa: A Review

By Parismita Singh                                                   Who is the reader and who the reviewer? A question taken seriously by the graphic novel Lissa.  The reader (or so it seems to the me) is […]

Continue Reading

Things Anthropologists Can Do With Comics

by Stacy Leigh Pigg Comics, says literary scholar Hillary Chute (2011: 112), are “about bodies – about locating them in space and time.” Comics engage the body regardless of their theme, and this kind of engagement inspires the project that is Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution. In the book’s Foreword, George […]

Continue Reading