Call for papers--Emerging Scholars Program Fall 2021 at Boston University, extended deadline #cfp

Kimberly Arkin

Department of Anthropology

Boston University


Call for Applications

An Emerging Scholars Program on:


Addressing Systemic Racism in Health and Medicine

Fall 2021





In the fall of 2021, the Boston University Department of Anthropology, with the support of the Wheelock School for Education’s Education for Equity and Democracy program and the BU Medical School’s master’s program in Medical Anthropology and Cross Cultural Practice, will host an emerging scholars program dedicated to scholarship on systemic racism in health and medicine.


COVID-19 has highlighted the way health and health outcomes are inextricably tied to race in the United States.  The disease has had a hugely disproportionate impact on communities of color for so very many reasons, some of them clearly related to the ways that racial discrimination and injustice are built into both biomedicine and health care delivery systems.  From attention to the deadly consequences of pulse oximeters that are sometimes wildly inaccurate on darker skin, to wrestling with the deep skepticism about the safety and efficaciousness of vaccines developed by a medical-industrial complex that long neglected and harmed indigenous people and people of color, this has been an unprecedented moment of reckoning around the subtle and egregious ways that both race and racial health disparities are produced by contemporary medical practice.  We would therefore like to take the unfortunate opportunity that Covid-19 has created to highlight some of the cutting-edge scholarship around these issues.  What are the overt and more insidious ways that systemic racism impacts medical science, clinical systems, and patient care either inside or outside the United States?  What are scientists, social scientists, doctors, or patients starting to do about it?  What are promising avenues for change? 


We invite applications from early career post-docs and ABDs who will be completing their PhDs in Anthropology (or a related field) by June 2023.  We are interested in scholars who are affiliated with populations with an embodied stake in this research and who belong to communities that traditionally have been underrepresented in the academy, notably African American, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Latine communities. 


The program has three major components.  In late September and October, our emerging scholars will have the opportunity (via Zoom) to present aspects of their research and join the discussion in one of two departmental medical anthropology courses.  In mid-November, we will bring the whole group of scholars together for an in-person public-facing round table chaired by Professor Dána-Ain Davis, renowned feminist and medical anthropologist from Queens College and The Graduate Center CUNY.  The roundtable is designed to publicize scholars’ research within the BU and wider Boston academic communities.  Scholars will make short 15-minute presentations that outline the major questions of their research.  These will be followed by panel discussion and questions from the floor.  And finally, a closed workshop will be held for the scholars themselves.  In this workshop, scholars’ pre-circulated works-in-progress will be discussed with Professor Davis, Professor Natali Valdez, a feminist science and technology studies scholar in Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley, and senior BU faculty from across the university (School of Medicine, School of Public Health, Sociology, Anthropology, and Biology) whose research is relevant to the papers being discussed.  Additional details about the format and logistics for the program are available upon request.


Invited junior scholars will be guests of the Department of Anthropology from November 12th-13th 2021.   All travel expenses will be covered by Boston University.

NB: We are closely monitoring the public health situation and are prepared, if necessary, to move to an entirely virtual program. 


To be considered for this emerging scholars’ program, please submit:

·      A 1-2 page cover letter that describes your career trajectory, your wider research interests, and the connection between the themes of this conference and your current research.

·      A short project abstract (no more than 250 words) explaining the work you would like to present at the conference.

·      A diversity statement (no more than 500 words) that explains the forms of intellectual and embodied diversity that you would bring to the program. 

·      A current CV.


Materials should be submitted to Veronica Little (vclittle@...) by August 31, 2021. Participants will be notified of acceptance in early September 2021.  Questions may be addressed to Dr. Kimberly Arkin (karkin@...).




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