Syndemics: Meditations on theory, practice, and politics

Emily Mendenhall; Professor; Science, Technology, and International Affairs; Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; Georgetown University

Emily Mendenhall will lecture on the history, practice, and politics of syndemic theory. Of anthropological origins, the syndemic idiom has become a central way of thinking about health and inequity in medicine and public health. In 2020, The Lancet said COVID-19 is not pandemic; rather, syndemic. Yet, in translation often anthropological ways of knowing can both inform and become misconstrued; and this has been a central contention for work on syndemic praxis. The examples discussed will center not only the social and intellectual life of syndemic theory but also on the author's fieldwork in Chicago, Delhi, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Dire Dawa. Constructive ways of translating ethnographic knowledge into different methods, scales, and ways of thinking will be a focus.