Mark your diary Friday June 2nd for an upcoming seminar by Professor Harris Solomon, Duke University: “On Life Support”

Dear Colleagues and Students,

please mark your calendar for an upcoming GHSM lecture by Professor Harris Solomon, Cultural Anthropology and Global Health, Duke University, titled “On Life Support”.

harris-solomonWhen: Friday, 2 June 2017,  4-6pm

Where: Old Committee Room, King’s College London, Strand Campus.

Organizers: Professor Megan Vaughan (UCL) and Dr Carlo Caduff (KCL)


This paper considers the phenomenon of breath to understand the edges of living and dying.  It is based on ethnographic research in a trauma intensive care unit in one of Mumbai’s busiest public hospitals.  The paper examines how patients, their kin, and doctors navigate the thorny state of not being able to breathe on one’s own.  At this point, patients are put on a respirator (“venti” in Hindi and Marathi) for artificial ventilation. Being on a ventilator is always relational. The ward has very few ventilators and demand for them is high.  The closer one patient comes to death, the closer another patient comes to an available ventilator and possibly life.  I explain how people experience this bind, and detail how the ventilator breathes life not only into specific patients in Mumbai but also into survival economies of Indian medicine, law, and ethics.

About the speaker
Harris Solomon is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health at Duke University.  He received his PhD in Anthropology from Brown University.  His major research projects employ ethnographic methods to detail the dynamic relations between people, their lived environments, and chronic illness in contemporary urban India.   His book, Metabolic Living: Food, Fat, and the Absorption of Illness in India (Duke University Press, May 2016) examines the relationships forged between food, fat, the body, and urban life in light of India’s rising rates of obesity and diabetes. It focuses conceptually on the phenomenon of metabolism. In March 2015, Solomon received a NSF CAREER Award from the NSF Cultural Anthropology Program for his current research project.  He is now studying how traffic on Mumbai’s roads and railways works as the context, cause, and consequence of bodily injury and trauma.

For inquiries about this seminar please contact Dr Carlo Caduff:
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