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Alex Brewis

Nothing sweet about it: Stigma and living with diabetes

This week I began teaching on online class on poverty and global health. The first assignment was for students to write briefly about their personal experiences with health inequities. The posts were honest, interesting, and many converged on what seemed like the most common recurring theme: the trials of them […]

Gender Norms, Stressful Stigma, and the ‘Critical’ Role of Families.

The Global Impact Collaboratory has had a very busy month. The core team (Roseanne Schuster, Peggy Ochandarena, and me) have been in the West Bank of Palestine working on developing new tools to allow rapid evaluation of social norms around gender-based violence.  Peggy is currently Chief of Party for a USAID human […]

Those “dirty people” often aren’t: Our lesson from Ireland

In 2015, we were invited to friendly Dublin, Ireland to collaborate on a new project focusing on the social dimensions of water. At the time, Ireland was in the midst of a highly emotional political crisis, because people were outraged that the government had begun to charge households for water. […]

Haiti, Cholera, and the Downhill Flow of Blame

On two visits his year, I have been working out of an office in a beautiful colonial era villa in Petion-ville, Haiti.  From the 2nd floor terrace, I can drink coffee and enjoy the vista of Jalousie, spilling down the steep hillside behind Port-au-Prince. A jumble of bright Carribbean pastels, […]

Boys will be boys? ADHD and “normal behavior”

Between us, Amber and I are raising three elementary-middle school sons. We counter our very busy professional lives with weekends and evenings of martial arts, soccer, homework, and play dates. For anthropologists, the right way to raise our children is always a challenging and interesting proposition.  Anyone who has spent […]

India, HIV, and Stigma Marsala

Chennai (Madras) in Southern India has long been a hot spot for HIV, but rates of new infection there (as in elsewhere in India) have thankfully been going down. Public education and associated outreach like prenatal care seems key to much of that reduction in the last decade. Yet, currently more […]

Public breastfeeding, purity, and the Prado

The Prado gallery in Madrid is splendid and powerful, full of historical paintings that lift the spirit and energize the imagination. And on a recent visit as I wandered the galleries on a hot Spanish summer afternoon, I was struck by one recurring theme. Masterpiece upon masterpiece of a baby […]

The Source of “Stigma”

The cliche in stigma scholarship: first, cite Goffman. Like this. And this. His work on stigma is mentioned so often, he is one of the most cited Sociologists ever. Mostly, he is referenced for his 1963 book, “Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity“. Usually the citation is about how he defined […]

Food insecurity, depression, and 20-20 hindsight

In a university has large and diverse as some cities, health disparities emerge on campus communities just as they do off campus. I have had the privilege over the last few years to be a collaborator on a large study of diet, exercise,and friendship among undergraduates on the Arizona State […]

The Other Reason Carrie Fisher is My Hero

This week Carrie Fisher passed away. I was 13 when I first saw Star Wars. A Princess who didn’t wear a ball-gown was a revelation. But Fisher wasn’t just a kick-ass role model for teen girls in parochial, misogynistic, 1970s New Zealand. Fisher, like all people with public appeal, had […]