Harris Scott Solomon

Harris Scott Solomon

Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Internal office address: 
90091, Durham, NC 27708


I am an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health. My research explores connections between the body, medicine, and urban environments in India.  

My first book is entitled Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India (Duke University Press, May 2016, read introduction here). As India becomes increasingly portrayed as the site of a shift from infectious to chronic disease burdens said to accompany economic development, my research explores the phenomenon of metabolism as an ethnographic, biomedical, and political rubric. With India's rising rates of obesity and diabetes as its backdrop, Metabolic Living examines relationships forged between food, fat, the body, and the city of Mumbai. The book draws on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Mumbai's home kitchens, metabolic disorder clinics, and food companies, to better understand what have been termed India's "diseases of prosperity." 

My second book is entitled "Lifelines: The Convergence of Trauma in India" (under review at Duke University Press). Lifelines is ethnographic study of road and railway injuries and of trauma surgery, with an aim to understand injury and mobility as problems that must be thought together. It is based on five years of ethnographic research on traffic accidents in Mumbai, primarily in the trauma ward of one of the city's largest public hospitals. The research for Lifelines was supported by a CAREER Award (Faculty Early Career Development Program) from the National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program. 

My earlier projects have examined the development of corporatized medical care in Indian cities and its manifestation as medical tourism, and the politics of language in India's HIV treatment clinical trials. 

I situate both my research and teaching at the interdisciplinary intersections of medical anthropology, South Asian studies, science and technology studies, global health, and food studies. Prior to anthropology, I studied linguistics and global public health, and worked on reproductive health and HIV policy. 

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., Brown University 2011

Selected Grants

RAPID: Healthcare Workforce Resilience in the Time of Covid-19 awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

CAREER: Traffic and Trauma in India awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2021

Solomon, Harris. “A Moral Technology: Electrification as Political Ritual in New Delhi by Leo Coleman Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017. 232 pp.American Anthropologist, vol. 120, no. 2, Wiley, June 2018, pp. 361–62. Crossref, doi:10.1111/aman.13014. Full Text

Solomon, H. “Review of "Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism".” Global Public Health, vol. 7, 2012, pp. 911–13.

Solomon, H. “Life Lube: Discursive Spheres of Sexuality, Science, and AIDS.” Out in Public: Reinventing Lesbian/Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World, 2009, pp. 256–72. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9781444310689.ch14. Full Text

Solomon, H. “Shifting Gears: Triage and Traffic in Urban India.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 349–64. Manual, doi:10.1111/maq.12367. Full Text Open Access Copy

Roy, Nobhojit, et al. “Learning from 2523 trauma deaths in India- opportunities to prevent in-hospital deaths.Bmc Health Services Research, vol. 17, no. 1, Feb. 2017, p. 142. Epmc, doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2085-7. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, H. “"The taste no chef can give": Processing street food in Mumbai.” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 30, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 65–90. Scopus, doi:10.14506/ca30.1.05. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, H. “Unreliable eating: Patterns of food adulteration in urban India.” Biosocieties, vol. 10, no. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 177–93. Scopus, doi:10.1057/biosoc.2015.10. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, H. “Taste Tests: Pizza and the Gastropolitical Laboratory in Mumbai.” Ethnos, vol. 79, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 19–40. Scopus, doi:10.1080/00141844.2012.751928. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, Harris. “Short Cuts.” Social Text, vol. 32, no. 3, Duke University Press, 2014, pp. 69–86. Crossref, doi:10.1215/01642472-2703860. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, Harris. “Affective journeys: the emotional structuring of medical tourism in India.Anthropology & Medicine, vol. 18, no. 1, Apr. 2011, pp. 105–18. Epmc, doi:10.1080/13648470.2010.525878. Full Text Open Access Copy

Solomon, Harris, et al. “'A shot of his own': the acceptability of a male hormonal contraceptive in Indonesia.Culture, Health & Sexuality, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2007, pp. 1–14. Epmc, doi:10.1080/13691050600902573. Full Text

Clark, Jr, Sam, et al. “The Role of Men in Family Planning in the Philippines: An Assessment.” Asia Pacific Social Science Review, vol. 7, no. 1, Philippines Journals Online (PhilJOL). Crossref, doi:10.3860/apssr.v7i1.116. Full Text