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Alex Brewis

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 […]

Shit shame? Addressing open air defecation in Mozambique

Climate problems may not be the top priority of the incoming US administration. But their effects are pretty darn obvious in places like Paquetequete neighborhood, in northern Mozambique, where the effects of draught, flooding, cyclones, pollution, and disease fully collide.  I just got back from a fascinating visit to this and […]

The Global Heart-ache of (In)fertility

The statistics say that at any time some 1.5 million married women in the US are struggling with infertility (technically failure to get pregnant after a year of regular unprotected sex). As someone who wrote a dissertation on infertility decades ago, I have had many different stories shared with me over […]

Welcome to *Beautiful* South Korea!

South Korea is a land of great physical beauty. If you aren’t born with it, you are meant to create it.  Presentation matters here. Photos are part of job applications. “You have lost/gained weight!” is a standard greeting.  According to Project Implicit data, South Koreans have the highest explicit fat-stigma on the […]