Call for Papers: “Anthropology on trial? The role of ethnography in HIV experimental science”
Panel at conference “MAGic2015. Anthropology and Global Health: interrogating theory, policy, and practice” (EASA Medical Anthropology Network und RAI Medical Anthropology Committee ), University of Sussex, UK, 9.-11. September 2015.
Convenors: Eileen Moyer (University of Amsterdam), Eva Vernooy (University of Amsterdam)
Discussant: Vinh-Kim Nguyen (University of Amsterdam)
Deadline Paper Proposals: 27. April 2015
Over the last twenty-five years, anthropology has provided important critical examinations of HIV-related experimental science. Anthropologists have explicated the hidden cultural transcripts and unintentional social ‘side effects’ of experimental practice; raised ethical concerns related to recruitment, consent, and confidentiality in cross-cultural contexts; questioned the growing commercialization of both experimentation science and study populations; as well as the power relations embedded in experimentation practices carried out among the economically and politically marginalized. Whereas much early ethnographic research on experimental AIDS science was conducted from ‘outside’, the past decade has seen increasing involvement of anthropologists in experimental designs in HIV research, executing preliminary qualitative explorations to inform interventions, instruments or designs of trials; conducting field studies and observational studies parallel to trials to, for example, increase external validity; and undertaking critical ethnographies of ‘trial communities’. This panel aims to bring together anthropologists and other sympathetic ethnographic researchers who participate in collaborative HIV/AIDS research to discuss experiences—chances, problems, obstacles and dilemmas—and ways forward in ethnographic theory. From a theoretical perspective, we ask how anthropological research carried out in and on HIV/AIDS interventions and trials might engage with and contribute to wider debates in the anthropology of trials, the anthropology of collaborative research, and the sociological study of science more generally. Papers may include contributions beyond HIV/AIDS which examine the role of ethnographic research in clinical trials, biomedical interventions and experimental science.