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Events

The Department of Anthropology convenes diverse seminars, workshops, and other gatherings throughout the academic year. Navigate the categories to the left to learn more. 

Events

Sanghamitra Das

March 25, 2024

March 25, 2024
3:00 PM
315 Haskell Hall

“Tribal” Sickle Cell: Biomolecular Hope, Reproductive Surveillance, and Adivasi Agency at India’s Margins
Dr. Sanghamitra Das
University of Chicago

ABSTRACT: There is a new biopharmaceutical regime emerging around sickle cell disease in India. A rare genetic blood disorder globally racialized as a “Black disease”, over the past three decades, sickle cell disease has been mapped onto historically oppressed Dalit and Adivasi communities in India. Caste-based assumptions of biological difference led Indian physicians, scientists and policymakers to characterize Indigenous Adivasi communities as the original “repositories” of the sickle cell gene, leading to anxieties of genetic admixture. Biomedical experts, the State and multinational pharmaceutical corporations thus partnered to mitigate these anxieties and promote “tribal” health, generating what Das terms as “biomolecular hope” around futuristic sickle cell therapies. Adivasi articulations of medical and social justice however reveal both the scopes and limits of “biomolecular hope”—an amalgamation of scientific epistemologies, prospective biopharmaceuticals, and subjective aspirations. Embodying “biomolecular hope” means consensually participating in the State surveillance of one’s genome and reproductive behavior. Situated in three distinct regions constituting the margins of India—the insurgency affected state of Chhattisgarh, the plantation district of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, and the tea plantations of Assam—“biomolecular hope” captures the tensions between capital-driven “tribal” health development policies and Adivasi aspirations of well-being. In so doing, it illuminates the role of caste-based notions of human difference in the relationship between the Indian State and its Adivasi citizens.

BIOGRAPHY: Sanghamitra Das is the Critical Caste Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Anthropology and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research brings together Medical Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, and Dalit and Adivasi studies to investigate health as an intersectional question of justice for historically oppressed communities in India, and beyond.

Please join us for a reception on Haskell’s mezzanine immediately following Dr. Das’s talk.

Orisanmi Burton

April 8, 2024

April 8, 2024
3:00 PM
315 Haskell Hall

Dr. Orisanmi Burton
American University

Please join us for a reception on Haskell’s mezzanine immediately following Dr. Burton’s talk.

Elizabeth A. Davis

April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024
3:00 PM
315 Haskell Hall

Dr. Elizabeth A. Davis
Princeton University

Please join us for a reception on Haskell’s mezzanine immediately following Dr. Davis’s talk.

Agustín Fuentes

April 29, 2024

April 29, 2024
3:00 PM
315 Haskell Hall

Dr. Agustín Fuentes
Princeton University

Please join us for a reception on Haskell’s mezzanine immediately following Dr. Fuentes’s talk.

Janet Roitman

May 6, 2024

May 6, 2024
3:00 PM
315 Haskell Hall

Dr. Janet Roitman
RMIT University

Please join us for a reception on Haskell’s mezzanine immediately following Dr. Roitman’s talk.

Undergraduate Thesis Symposium

May 20, 2024

Please join us on May 20 in Haskell Hall 315 for this year’s Anthropology Undergraduate Symposium, which will showcase the work of graduating fourth years who have completed a BA Thesis for Departmental Honors.