The notion of performance has become dominant in health programming, whether being embodied through pay-for-performance schemes or through other incentive-based interventions. In this article, we seek to unpack the idea of performance and performing in a dialogical fashion between field-based evaluation findings and methodological considerations. We draw on episodes where methodological reflections on performing ethnography in the field of global health intersect with findings from the everyday practices of working under performance-based contracts in the Senegalese supply chain for family planning. While process evaluations can be used to understand contextual factors influencing the implementation of an intervention, we as anthropologists in and of contemporary global health have an imperative to explore and challenge categories of knowledge and practice. Making room for new spaces of possibilities to emerge means locating anthropology within qualitative global health research.
Ethnographic Insights from Senegal
Diane Duclos, Sylvain L. Faye, Tidiane Ndoye and Loveday Penn-Kekana
Marija Bulatović and Višnja Krstić
Jelena J. Dimitrĳ ević, Sedam mora i tri okeana: Putem oko sveta (Seven seas and three oceans: Traveling around the globe), edited by Biljana Dojčinović, Belgrade: Laguna, 2016, 445 pp., price not listed (paperback), ISBN 978-86-521-2306-3.
Jelena J. Dimitrĳević, Pisma iz Indĳe (Letters from India), second edition, edited by Ana Stjelja, English translation by Željko V. Mitić, Hindi translation by Latika Chawda, Belgrade: A. Stjelja, 2017, 106 pp., price not listed (paperback), ISBN 978-86-918903-6-0.
Welcome to the first issue of our first three-issue volume of Projections. We begin this issue with a truly exciting collaboration between a filmmaker (and scholar), Karen Pearlman, and a psychologist, James E. Cutting. Cutting and Pearlman analyze a number of formal features, including shot duration, across successive cuts of Pearlman’s 2016 short film, Woman with an Editing Bench. They find that the intuitive revisions that Pearlman made actually track a progression toward fractal structures – complex patterns that also happen to mark three central pulses of human existence (heartbeat, breathing, walking).
Slobodanka Peković, Časopisi po meri dostojanstvenog ženskinja: Ženski časopisi na početku 20. veka (Journals suited for respectable women: Women’s journals from the early twentieth century), Novi Sad-Beograd: Matica srpska, Institut za književnost i umetnost, 2015, 378 pp., RSD 550 (paperback), ISBN 978-86-7946-154-4.
Stanislava Barać, Feministička kontrajavnost: Žanr ženskog portreta u srpskoj periodici 1920–1941 (The feminist counterpublic: A genre of woman’s portrait in the Serbian periodical press from 1920 to 1941), Beograd: Institut za književnost i umetnost, 2015, 436 pp., RSD 1100 (paperback), ISBN 978-86-7095-224-9.
Sara Van Belle
In this article, I set out to capture the dynamics of two streams within the field of global health research: realist research and medical anthropology. I critically discuss the development of methodology and practice in realist health research in low- and middle-income countries against the background of anthropological practice in global health to make claims on why realist enquiry has taken a high flight. I argue that in order to provide a contribution to today’s complex global issues, we need to adopt a pragmatic stance and move past disciplinary silos: both methodologies have the potential to be well-suited to an analysis of deep layers of context and of key social mechanisms.
Sex, Gender, and Emotions among Polish Displaced Person in the Aftermath of World War II
This article investigates the experiences of Polish Displaced Persons (DPs) through the lens of sexuality, analyzing their perceptions of liberation and life in DP camps in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria (1945–1951). It draws on a wide array of sources, including archival material, memoirs, and letters. Employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of carnival and the carnivalesque, it argues that the dynamics of DPs’ sexual and romantic encounters, analyzed as emotional experiences, can be characterized as having a carnivalesque structure of oppression, eruption, and normalization. It demonstrates how the eruption of sexuality (including sexual violence) was connected to the wider problems Poles faced, including feelings of emasculation, war trauma, and the challenges of rebuilding a community in exile. Polish elites, acting mostly within a Catholic conservative register, boosted normalization by combatting perceived “immorality” and promoting family values. To this end, they cooperated with international organizations and the Allied military in an attempt to contain venereal disease, prostitution, and abortion. Many of these efforts focused on policing women’s bodies and regulating their sexuality, as a part of rebuilding the nation after the hecatomb of war.
Barbara Jane Brickman
In their new groundbreaking study reviewed in this special issue, The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution (2018), sociologist Ann Travers details the experiences of transgender children in the US and Canada, some as young as four years of age, who participated in research interviews over a five-year period. Establishing a unique picture of what it means to grow up as a trans child, Travers offers numerous examples of daily life and challenges for children like, for example, Martine and Esme, both of whom sought to determine their own gender at an early age: Martine and her family recount how at the age of seven she responded to her upcoming appointment at a gender clinic by asking if the doctor would have “the machine where you walk in as a boy and walk out as a girl,” while Esme’s story begins in preschool and leads to the care of a “trans-affirmative doctor” (168) from the age of six and the promise of hormone blockers and estrogen at the onset of puberty. Although Travers’s work is devoted to and advocates for trans children as a whole, its implications for our understanding of and research into girls and girlhood cannot be understated. What does it mean to “walk out” of that machine in the doctor’s office “as a girl?” What happens when you displace the seemingly monumental onset of puberty from its previous biological imperatives and reproductive futures? How might feminist work on girlhoods, which has sought to challenge sexual and gender binaries for so long, approach an encounter with what Travers calls “binary-conforming” or “binary-identifying” (169) trans girls or with the transgender boys in their study who, at first, respond to the conforming pressures of adolescence very similarly to cisgender girls who will not ultimately transition away from a female identity?
On Being In-Between in a Global Health Intervention
Within multi-disciplinary global health interventions, anthropologists find themselves navigating complex relationships of power. In this article, I offer a critical reflection on this negotiated terrain, drawing on my experience as an embedded ethnographer in a four-year adolescent sexual and reproductive health research intervention in Latin America. I critique the notion that the transformative potential of ethnographic work in global health remains unfulfilled. I then go on to argue that an anthropological practice grounded in iterative, inter-subjective and self-reflexive work has the potential to create ‘disturbances’ in the status quo of day-to-day global health practice, which can in turn destabilise some of the problematic hubristic assumptions of health reforms.
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
It is with great pleasure that Aspasia offers its congratulations to Dr. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, the 2018 recipient of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies’ Outstanding Achievement Award. A historian of the Russian woman suffrage movement, Dr. Ruthchild played a foundational role in the development of women’s history within Russian and Eastern European studies. She helped to establish the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) in 1988, serving as its first president. She also contributed to the inaugural volume of Aspasia in 2007,1 and has served as an editor of this journal for over a decade. She is an exemplary scholar, a champion of women’s studies and women’s achievements, as well as a mentor to colleagues and students in the United States and abroad.`
Anthropological Knowledge and Practice in Global Health
Rodney Reynolds and Isabelle L. Lange
Since the turn of the millennium, conceptual and practice-oriented shifts in global health have increasingly given emphasis to health indicator production over research and interventions that emerge out of local social practices, environments and concerns. In this special issue of Anthropology in Action, we ask whether such globalised contexts allow for, recognise and sufficiently value the research contributions of our discipline. We question how global health research, ostensibly inter- or multi-disciplinary, generates knowledge. We query ‘not-knowing’ practices that inform and shape global health evidence as influenced by funders’ and collaborators’ expectations. The articles published here provide analyses of historical and ethnographic field experiences that show how sidelining anthropological contributions results in poorer research outcomes for the public. Citing experiences in Latin America, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria and the domain of global health evaluation, the authors consider anthropology’s roles in global health.