Writing Kin

Feb 16, 2023, 4:30 pm6:30 pm



Event Description

Sarah Pinto *03 is a Professor at Tufts University, interested in histories and cultures of medicine, especially as they pertain to gender, kinship, caste, law, and everyday intimacies, with a regional focus on South Asia. She is also interested in the ways knowledge about bodies and minds moves across time and place, and how, in such movements, colonial, anti-colonial, and postcolonial scientific imaginations seed critical genealogies, often counterintuitively. In the diverse ways people make use of medicine and science, she is drawn to the forms of creativity, imagination, and ethical world-making that emerge in the interstices of authority and power. Her research has considered childbirth, infant mortality, and birth-work in Uttar Pradesh, India, noting the way reproductive health interventions reiterate caste and the marginalization of Dalit women; women's movement through psychiatric care settings in urban north India and the intersections of kinship dissolutions with crisis and care; and histories of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in South Asia as they pertain to women's lives and gendered diagnoses, notably "hysteria" and its avatars.

Amy Moran-Thomas *12 is Associate Professor of Anthropology at MIT, interested in the human and material entanglements that shape health in practice. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Princeton University in 2012, and held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Brown before coming to MIT. Her writing often focuses on the social lives of medical objects. She also works on the cultural anthropology of intergenerational health, planetary change, and chronic conditions; as well as questions of equitable device design, technology and kinship, and the afterlives of energy (carbohydrates and hydrocarbons) across scales. Professor Moran-Thomas has conducted ethnographic and historical research in Belize, Guatemala, Ghana, Brazil and the U.S, supported by the Mellon-American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, the West African Research Association, and the American Philosophical Society. Her first book, Traveling with Sugar: Chronicles of a Global Epidemic (2019), examines the global rise of diabetes as part of the ongoing legacies of sweetness and power -- including how unequal access to insulin varieties, oxygen chambers, glucose meters, dialysis devices, farming machines, coral restoration, and prosthetic limb technologies can shape how histories live on in the present, impacting lives and landscapes across generations.

Discussant: Beth Semel, Assistant Professor in Anthropology