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If Mindfulness is the Answer, What is the Question?

Dr. Joanna Cook

“If mindfulness is the answer, what is the question?” was a talk given by Dr Joanna Cook, UCL (Presentation with Q&A) as part of the Round Table “Mindfulness in Public Discourse” which was held at the Centre of Buddhist Studies, SOAS University of London on 8 December 2018.

Rebecca Skloot & the Lacks Family on Communication in Science and Medicine

By Rebecca Irons

Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is one that many of us may be familiar with. An exploration of the human story behind the HeLa cells, the book deals with more than simply an historical account of biomedical research; it is essentially a book about race, bioethics, and the medical industry at large.

Female Tristeza in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala: How Sadness Maps Onto Depression

By Elizabeth Markowitz

“As always, as people, there are problems … perhaps they happen [as depression] but one does not know the form…” 

– Tzununá woman

How does major depressive disorder exist in a society lacking a word for it? I studied this question through the lens of the female experience of tristeza (sadness) in an indigenous Kaqchikel-speaking region above the shores of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

Living in a Contested Environment: On Strategic Not-Knowing in the Aftermath of the ‘Quirra case’

by Chiara Carboni

“I had no idea people were still talking about this. They have even reopened the beach!” Ernesto (the name is fictitious) is probably in his late 70s, but may be much younger: his skin, shrivelled and darkened by Sardinia’s sun, makes it tricky to tell his age. We are in Porto Corallo, one of Villaputzu’s beaches. Some friends have quite abruptly introduced him to me, for he is a farmer living close to Quirra, the tiny fraction of Villaputzu’s municipality that has repeatedly hit the headlines of many local and national newspapers in the last 10 years.

Dialogical (de)Medicalisation in British Abortion Activism

by Leah Eades

At March for Life, Britain’s largest anti-abortion demonstration, I found myself face-to-face with a sign exhorting me to “love them both”. The both referred to the smiling mother and baby also pictured. Underneath, a subtitle read: “Abortion: kills one, hurts another”.

Talking shit, or comments on ‘Three Achievements of Dirt: Disgust, Humour, Emphasis’

On the 12th October Sjaak van der Geest (University of Amsterdam) presented his paper entitled ‘Three Achievements of Dirt: Disgust, Humour, Emphasis’ as part of the UCL Medical Anthropology Seminar Series, currently dealing with dirt and pollution. Rebecca Williams and Jed Stevenson comment below, followed by a response to both from Sjaak van der Geest. Images and captions are from Sjaak van der Geest.