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Call for papers: Anthropology and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa


Future Health Systems is a research consortium working to improve access, affordability and quality of health services for the poor. We are a partnership of leading research institutes from across the globe working in a variety of contexts: in low-income countries (Bangladesh, Uganda), middle-income countries (China, India) and fragile states (Afghanistan) to build resilient health systems for the future. After a successful first five-year phase from 2006-2011 (see our success stories), we are entering a new six-year phase of research, funded mainly by UK aid.

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Call for papers: Anthropology and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Future Health Systems

The Ebola Response Anthropology Platform invites papers for a panel on ‘Anthropological engagements with the Ebola epidemic in West Africa’ at the ‘MAGic2015: Anthropology and Global Health: interrogating theory, policy and practice’ conference at the University of Sussex, UK, in September 2015.

As one of the most dramatic public health events of recent years, the West African Ebola outbreak has revealed the disjunctures and elisions within the structures of global health and has brought to light important questions about international development activities, health system resilience, and social responses to and consequences of health disasters.

The engagement of anthropologists with international response efforts highlights important questions as to the role, practice and value of anthropology in contexts of epidemics and emergencies, as well as the broader conceptual, methodological, political and ethical tensions that arise at the intersection of anthropological and global health practice.

This panel is organised by members of the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform (ERAP), which was established to network anthropologists and to provide an accessible platform for integrating anthropological perspectives into the 2014-15 Ebola response.

Reflecting on the ERAP initiative, the panel will explore connections between Ebola, anthropology and global health around three themes: the contextual granularity which ethnography can offer on the configuration of the crisis; opportunities and challenges for anthropologists to engage during the outbreak; and methodological and collaborative dimensions of that engagement in rapidly unfolding crisis contexts.

Cross-cutting the specific themes, panellists will reflect on the question of whether and, if so, how, the Ebola epidemic marks a turning point for anthropological engagements with global health, and how best to blend new roles within the response with maintaining a critical voice and pursuing long term research priorities.

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