The Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle
A pioneer of hospital ethnography in Australia and internationally, Debbi has worked in rural communities in Turkey and Eswatini, as well as extensively in the public hospital system in Australia. With more than twenty years experience as a health systems analyst, Debbi’s research has included clinical governance and health management, development health and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), behaviour change, culture change, workers compensation, industrial relations, patient safety, infection control, family violence, multidisciplinary clinical team communication, video ethnography, hospital ethnography and maternity systems. She has taught in a number of universities in anthropology, medical, nursing, Indigenous Studies and Development Studies departments/centres. Her current life/research interests incorporate health in areas such as permaculture and food security, sustainable housing techniques, i/Indigenous knowledges, with an overarching focus on resource equity and decolonisation.
In the first part of this talk I draw on the concept of partisan observation, and discuss examples of and potentials for anthropologically-informed social justice activism. I make the obvious point that this type of anthropological work has been fatally constrained by academic commodification. Moving “back” to more classic anthropological method, Participant Observation, in the second part of this talk I suggest that one of the most urgent contributions that anthropology can contribute to Discourses of Unfucking is our expertise in understanding human universals. Relativist ethnography - however flawed and colonialist - has collected an enormous amount of data about human societies. Comparative method allows us to make informed statements about the remarkably few characteristics that are common to all human societies. For example, the insight that reciprocity is a human universal, while money is merely a mechanism to enact (or place a barrier to) reciprocity is desperately needed rescue knowledge for the planet. I suggest that this is only one of many knowledges that anthropological expertise can contribute to local and globalised projects of unfucking.
Professor of Ethnicity Race and Migration, and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, Yale University
Kalindi Vora’s work has brought together an investment in uncovering racial and gendered histories of science and technology in the present through ethnographic study of sites including information and communications technology, assisted reproductive technology, and robotics and machine learning. Her current book project is tentatively titled, Autoimmune: Chronic Conditions and Care in a Time of Uncertain Medicine. It places contemporary narratives of illness by patients facing racism and sexism in their daily lives within an analysis of the history of the concept of autoimmunity and contemporary practices of healthcare self-monitoring to understand the potential for patient-physician co-production of medical knowledge. She has also worked to bridge critical race and gender studies critique with STEM research practice through the “Asking Different Questions” pedagogical project at UC Davis (with Sarah McCullough) and the forthcoming book, The Science We are For: A Feminist Pocket Guide as part of the Star Feminist Collaboratory (K. Vora, L. Irani, C. Hanssmann, S. Varma, S. Zarate, L. Quintanilla).