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panel

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Critical Reflexivity in Global Health and Global Change Studies

keywords:

applied anthropology

global health

climate change

In the 'Critical Reflexivity in Global Health and Global Change Studies' roundtable, panelists converse about the ways in which defining moments in human and ecosystems health cause us to reflect upon our understanding of our own work as well as the work of our fellow anthropologists and scholars across disciplines. In our conversation we highlight constraints and affordances to multispecies wellbeing that we have become newly or increasingly aware of due to the acuteness of the current crises, and we embed our analyses within a deep historical context. With lenses tinted by recent events, panelists use social theory to push beyond rote and etic explanations of the relationships between environmental change and global health. Panelists approach the roundtable with a sense of incredible urgency to mitigate health inequities and environmental injustices. In light of the recent and ongoing pandemics, anthropologists have critical roles to play in performing research, disseminating results, and translating scientific discourse for public audiences. We are also obliged to advocate for the consideration of biocultural diversity in policy development and for the application of scientific knowledge in decision making. Who should anthropologists prioritize in our inquiries, how, and why? If anthropologists were first responders, who would we care for first? Panelists in the Critical Reflexivity in Global Health and Global Change Studies session advocate for the wellbeing of humans and nonhumans as well as for healthy environments by targeting a variety of biopolitical issues. We address important convergences between the dynamic, complex, emerging contexts for living on Earth and the ways people sense, perceive, experience, and know their own and others’ bodies. We link ethnographic records of local, lived, experiences related to wellbeing to broader social and ecological processes. In what ways have contemporary crises demonstrated the continuing significance of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, geography, and other dimensions of power and status, vulnerability and marginalization, stratification and inequality? Why do health care and environmental justice continue to operate along these lines? As we explore the conditions for living in problematic situations, panelists discern caretaking from imperialism, protecting from policing, freedom from privilege, and agency from structural violence. We examine local, regional, national, and international projects that accomplish equitable improvements in wellbeing as well as projects that impede or damage wellbeing. We inquire into the operations of governmental, humanitarian, development, conservation, biomedical, public health, and other initiatives that intervene in local people’s lives and landscapes. Our aim is to advance scholarship across disciplines and to transcend academia by contributing to public debates and informing public policies. As environmental and health crises in the 21st century press heavily upon one another, this roundtable convenes to critically analyze links between continuous transformations on Planet Earth and changes in multispecies wellbeing.

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