On Bioculturalism and Tilting at Windmills

During the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting, after an excellent neuroanthropology session organized by Daniel Lende and Greg Downey, I mused about a shift in the field. To a packed room, outstanding speakers presented sophisticated theoretical models backed by ethnographic and biological evidence, and no one felt it necessary to justify or even flag bioculturalism. The presenters were simply […]

How Can Service-Learning Serve in Medical Anthropology?

Service-learning can challenge anthropology students to put methods into practice, and to apply cultural relativism to local contexts. In spring 2017, I taught an undergraduate course called Mental Health in Global Perspective. It is a critical survey of psychological anthropology, transcultural psychiatry, and global mental health literature, and this time I added a service-learning component. […]

Culture, Stigma, and Addiction on College Campuses

All segments of US society are grappling with novel issues of substance use and misuse. University students are particularly at risk for developing substance use disorders, given the inherent stresses associated with college life and the importance of certain kinds of substances (e.g., alcohol) in non-sanctioned social events. Students are also targeted for substance use prevention […]

Misconceptions about Health Disparities in the US

Health disparities along racial/ethnic lines continue to be a major problem in the US, both in terms of health outcomes and use of health services. Medical anthropologists have pointed out that the most likely reasons for such disparity originate from socio-cultural factors (Dressler, Oths, and Gravlee 2005). Suppositions persist that these inequalities are driven primarily […]

What Is the “Environment” in Gene-Environment Interaction Research?

The notion that nature and nurture interact to produce the phenotype of an individual is a very old one. Modern techniques of molecular biology and the mapping of the human genome have led to multiple studies approaching gene-environment interaction as more than a metaphor. What is lacking, however, is an adequate conceptualization of “the environment.” […]