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Global health is undergoing significant and critical paradigmatic changes, triggered by post-pandemic inequalities, current wars, increasingly restrictive laws on bodily autonomy, ongoing climate challenges and decolonization movements. At the same time, global health remains intricately connected to and dependent on global financial flows, uneven funding structures, and development aid (or the lack thereof), shaping the direction of research collaborations and interventions. Global health strategies and policies remain rather a “top-down” approach, with Global North actors often taking a lead, although slowly, yet surely, on the ground realities and Southern voices are centralized. In this moment in time when critical decolonizing approaches are galvanizing in academia and practice, it is a good moment to reflect on the state of global health and its discourse.
Event details of Global Health and its Changing Discourses
19 April 2024
15:00 -17:00

Engaging in north-south collaborations

At this roundtable, we engage with three leading scholars in global health and anthropology who combine their academic pursuits with advocacy for changing conversations around health, society, power structures, and development. Sabina F. Rashid and Maya Unnithan are leading scholars on sexual and reproductive health rights, technologies, bodily autonomy and dignity across the world. Shahaduz Zaman, alumni of University of Amsterdam (UvA), is teaching and researching on global health paradigms in both global South and North institutions. In a conversational setting, the three speakers, along with UvA global health scholars, will discuss questions such as: Where do they see discourses around global health shifting to or away from? How to combine practice and theory in a meaningful way? How to engage in equitable north-south collaborations that speak to power structures? How to implement/actualize a decolonial agenda while operating through institutions of health and research that embody the “afterlives of colonialism”?

About the organisation

The Department of Anthropology is the home for the largest medical anthropology group (Health, Care, and Body) in Europe.  The Centre for Social Science and Global Health (SSGH) is actively bringing together social sciences, humanities and biomedical and public health, fostering critical, transdisciplinary analysis of the global dimensions of health and well-being as well as “global health” itself. This co-facilitated roundtable by the Department of Anthropology and SSGH is an excellent opportunity for academics, practitioners, and students to interact with the speakers and create an important communal learning moment.

About the speakers

Prof. dr. Sabina F. Rashid: Professor, Mushtaque Chowdhury Chair in Health and Poverty & Director, Center for Gender & SRHR, BRAC JPG School of Public Health, BRAC University

Prof. Rashid is a medical anthropologist who has worked on public health research, teaching, and advocacy for over 28 years. During Prof. Rashid’s tenure as dean of the School, the Masters in Public Health became a flagship program, training some of the leading experts in the health sector, especially those in the global South. She is a global expert on sexual reproductive health rights and is the founder of the very first research center in Bangladesh dedicated to gender and SRHR research and advocacy.

Prof. dr. Maya Unnithan: Head of Department of Anthropology and Director of the Sussex Center for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health, University of Sussex

Prof. Unnithan is a social and medical anthropologist who works at the intersection of anthropology, global health, and international development. With over three decades of international and field-based research experience and collaborative work, Prof. Unnithan continues to build relations between research and interventions on topics pertaining to kinship, reproductive rights, bodily rights, and the politics of reproductive technologies.

Prof. dr. Dr. Shahaduz Zaman: Prof. in Medical Anthropology and Global Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex

Dr. Zaman has an interdisciplinary background with degrees in medical anthropology, public health, and medicine. Trained as a medical doctor, Prof. Zaman pursued his PhD at UvA in medical anthropology, conducting the first-ever hospital ethnography in Bangladesh. Prof. Zaman has also worked extensively on socio-cultural aspects of communicable and non-communicable diseases, death, dying and the end of life, refugee health, health policy and health systems, and medical history. Alongside, Prof. Zaman is a notable fiction writer in Bengali, having received numerous awards and accolades for his literary contributions.

Prof. dr. Manon Parry: Professor of Medical History at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU), and Associate Professor in American Studies and Public History at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). 

Manon S. Parry is an historian and exhibition curator, specializing in the uses of the humanities for health and wellbeing. She is Professor of Medical and Nursing History at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU), and Associate Professor of American Studies and Public History at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She is a member of the Technical Advisory Group on Behavioural and Cultural Insights (BCI) of the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe, and co-author, with Nancy Tomes, of the BCI Unit’s first historical report, “What are the historical roots of the COVID-19 infodemic? Lessons from the past,” (Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2022). She directs the PULSE Network for Medical and Health Humanities at UvA:, and is currently researching cultures of evaluation in the history of health communication.

Dr. Lisa Haushofer: Assistant Prof. of food history at the University of Amsterdam

Lisa Haushofer is Assistant Professor of food history at the University of Amsterdam. She holds a PhD in history of science from Harvard University, an MA in history of medicine from University College London, and an MD in medicine from the University of Witten-Herdecke. Her research examines the intersection of the histories of food, science, medicine, and environment. Her first book, Wonder Foods: The Science and Commerce of Nutrition (University of California Press, 2023) analyzed the entanglement of the nutrition sciences, nutritional entrepreneurship, and the economic and imperial cultures of nutritional knowledge production in Britain and the United States between 1850 and 1950. She is currently working on a history of nutritional knowledge production in Global Health in the twentieth century, and a history of the entanglement between digestive and reproductive health in modern biomedicine.

Prof. Dr. Anita Hardon

Anita Hardon is a medical anthropologist, who is Department Chair of the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group at Wageningen University and is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. Her multi-sited and collaborative ethnographies generate insights on the use of health technologies in everyday life, and the dynamics of care and policy-making involved in their provision. She co-authored the Social Life of Medicines (2002) and ‘Fluid Drugs: Revisiting the Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals’ (with Emilia Sanabria) for the Annual Review of Anthropology (2017). In 2016, Hardon was elected Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences. She was a fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University in 2019–2020. She is currently the PI for her second Advance Grant from the European Research Council, EmbodiedEcologies: A collaborative inquiry into how people sense, know, and act to reduce chemical exposures in everyday urban life.

Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

Room B5.12
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam