Tag Archives: Anthropology

Female Genital Mutilation: cultural practices, historical moments, and medical issues

Alexandros Argyriadis Agathi Argyriadi Limassol, Cyprus   Photo UNICEF / Olivier Asselin. Accessed via MONUSCO on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as any procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for […]

Wounding words

Charlotte Grinberg Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA   Still Life – A Student’s Table. William Michael Harnett. 1882. Philadelphia Museum of Art. In college, I majored in anthropology. I was interested in understanding the political, social, legal, and economic forces that influence behavior. As language is inherently related to consciousness and culture, its study was central to […]

Gandhiji on Indianness of health and healthcare (1869-1948)

Dhastagir Sheriff Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India   In 2019, 150 years after Mahatma Gandhiji’s birth, India celebrates his birthday to honor his legacy and his contributions to the welfare of this nation. We remember him with his alluring smile, in loin cloth, shawl, and thin-framed glasses, his attire representing his message to lead a simple […]

The anthropology of chronic pain

Charles Paccione Oslo, Norway   Image of Dharmakīrtisāgara, one of the Eight Medicine Buddhas, from the upper book cover of The Sūtra of Great Liberation. Courtesy of U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Health & Human Services, [2010]. The global burden of chronic pain is large and growing. About 25% of patients […]

A traditional practice in baby care: salting

Sinem Çaka Sakarya, Turkey Sümeyra Topal Kahramanamaras, Turkey Nursan Çınar Sakarya, Turkey   Lamp made from natural Cankiri rock salt used in bedrooms in Turkey In many societies, there are traditional practices performed to protect babies from magic, witchcraft, or the evil eye. At first, it may seem that these practices would have no particular […]

Yellow Fever: Harmful habit or new frontier in identity dysphoria?

Oyinade Osisanya Ijebu Ode, Ogun, Nigeria   A young woman with bleached skin. Album cover for “Yellow Fever” by Fela Kuti, 1976. Courtesy: Ghariokwu Lemi In 1976, when Fela Kuti, the late Afrobeat legend, released Yellow Fever, the hit masterpiece in which he passionately decried in his powerful, ringing voice, You dey bleach o, you […]

The role of water in Indian culture

Dhastagir Sultan Sheriff Chennai, Tamilnadu, India   Fig 1. Water management in Ancient India Changing patterns of weather and rainfall, past policies regarding water release and storage, and a frequently resultant dry basin have forced the central and state governments of India to engage in conserving water, often looking at ways to adapt ancient and […]

Haunted by a living spirit

Bernardo Ng San Diego, California, USA   Witchcraft has been present in the Mexican culture for centuries, both in and out of the context of disease, with witches practicing either white or black magic. The most nationally recognized site for witchcraft is the city of Catemaco, Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. The white magic […]

A change in mindset

Asayya Imaya London, United Kingdom   “This is witchcraft,” my father said with authority. I had questions that I dared not ask; my father was a formidable and austere character. The terror he had instilled in me as a child was still palpable, and I still feared him as an adult. I am not sure […]

A story of the oppressed

Donia Khafaga Cairo, Egypt   A powerful representation of women’s oppression International Organization of Human Rights: www.ishr.org Writers often use their novels as a social commentary to criticize a certain cultural context and advocate for change. Today women are still trying to attain equality and freedom. In many Arab countries, men are endowed with freedom […]