Cultural Anthropology Faculty
Various members of Duke's Department of Cultural Anthropology reflect on the current COVID-19 situation and provide some insights and opinions.
In the compound disaster of 3/11 in northeastern Japan—earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown—time literally stopped for 16,000 Japanese. Keep reading
Many have remarked on the striking parallels between COVID-19 and anthropogenic climate change, crises that: spill across national borders; require coordinated interventions between scientists, civil society, the private sector, government, and individuals; Keep reading
Pandemics are problems of borders. For millennia, human beings created borders to separate insiders from outsiders, locals from strangers, self from other, good from evil, and clean from dirty. Keep reading
In 1937 the French Jewish anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss fled the Nazis but was denied entry into the United States. He ended up doing fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon with the Nambikwara, reputed to be cannibals. Keep reading
Anthropologists have spent much of their energy over the past few decades studying social inequality in its many forms. Keep reading
Human rights are central to the emergence of and responses to pandemics. Keep reading
COVID-19 is contagious and deadly; we know this. What we have not had the time to grapple with, yet, is that it is turning people into patients, and patients on ventilators specifically. Keep reading
On February 3, 2020, I walked into my Medical Anthropology class wearing a plague doctor mask to kick off that week’s lecture on epidemics and social transformation. Keep reading
The initial COVID-19 outbreak, first identified in southern China in December 2019, subsequently spread throughout Asia then westward into Iran and Europe, across the Atlantic to the US, and more recently southward into Latin America and the sub-Saharan region to become a full-blown pandemic. Keep reading
When Ethiopia actually reported its first case of COVID-19, the Minister of Health, Lia Tadesse, tweeted out a notice. “Update on Covid-19 in Ethiopia March 15, 2020” began: “Since Ethiopia confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on March 13, 2029, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute has been tracing the contacts of the first confirmed case…” Within hours the mistake had been corrected. It was in fact the year 2020, not nine years in the future, that Ethiopia was reporting its first case. Hiwot (pseudonym), my housemate and friend laughed, rolled her eyes, and said, “Oh Ethiopia.” Read more.