Tag Archives: Anthropology

Dr. Aufderheide and the mummies

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Curator for the Department of Physical Anthropology at the San Diego Museum of Man prepares a 550-year old Peruvian child mummy for a CT scan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis/Released). Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. Paleopathology, the study of early animal […]

The role of lullabies in mother-baby attachment

Özge Suzan Nursan Çinar Sakarya, Turkey   Lullaby by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. 1875. From Bartoli, Damien & Ross, Frederick C. William Bouguereau: His Life and Works. Via Wikimedia. A lullaby is defined as a sweet, gentle song that is sung to entice a baby to sleep. In Turkish folklore, a mother’s voice is very important for […]

Obstetrical fistula: a malady hidden by shame

Layla A. Al-Jailani Yemen   Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels Nouria strolls across the kitchen, making lunch for her family as she does every day. Her stride is slightly wobbly, but any observer would think this was a healthy young woman. What they do not see, however, is the hidden anguish, pain, and shame […]

History of medicine in ancient India

Keerthana Kalla Seattle, Washington, United States   Shushrut Statue In Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar. Photo by Alokprasad. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 The chronicle of medicine is the story of man’s struggle against illness. As early as 5000 BC, India developed a comprehensive form of healing called Ayurveda. Such traditional healing was first recorded between […]

The snake, the staff, and the healer

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   The Rod of Asclepius, graphite on paper, by Daniel Wein, 2021. Introduction In some ancient cultures, especially around the Near East, the snake was involved in healing. Today this seems counterintuitive. There are as many as 130,000 deaths from snake bites worldwide each year and three times that number […]

Carl Gustav Jung

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Carl Jung. Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Creative Commons. In the autumn of 1913, Carl Gustav Jung was traveling alone by train through the rust and amber forest of the Swiss countryside. The thirty-eight-year-old psychiatrist had been lately troubled by strange dreams and a rising sense of tension, […]

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 […]