Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search

Oct. 29 - Talk: Science and Sanctity: Biomedicine and Christianity at an Ethiopian Fistula Hospital

October 29, 2019

The Global Health Office is co-sponsoring this talk in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Speaker Series. The speaker. Anita Hannig, is the Visiting Hooker Speaker in Religious Studies.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, 2 - 4 p.m.

Where: UH 122

About the talk
Science and religion are frequently conceptualized as mutually exclusive ways of understanding the world. In the Ethiopian fistula hospital where Hannig conducted months of ethnographic research, religion and hospital medicine did not occupy such separate domains. Biomedicine came to be seen as a profoundly religious endeavor, and religion inflected surgical treatment each step of the way. What do the overlaps between these ostensibly disparate epistemic systems reveal about contemporary hospital work? How do actors in these spaces envision the work of healing? Once we begin to see medicine and religion as complementary rather than opposed, we will gain a much better sense of how they can work together in therapeutic settings.

About the speaker
Anita Hannig is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University, where she teaches classes on medicine, death, and dying. She earned her Master's and PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her first book, 'Beyond Surgery' (2017), won the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology in 2018. Hannig has published widely in peer-reviewed journals inside and outside her home discipline, and her work has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships. Since 2015, Hannig has conducted research on assisted dying in Oregon and Washington, working with patients, caregivers, physicians, and lawmakers to understand how access to these laws is changing the ways Americans view and manage the process of dying. She is currently writing up her findings for her upcoming book, The 'Day I Die: Assisted Dying in the Age of Medicine'.

No registration needed. All are welcome.