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‘Medicine In Name Only’: Mistrust and COVID-19 Among the Crowded Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh

September 22, 9:00 am10:30 am PDT

Sadaf Noor E Islam, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Anthropology, Durham University
Lawrence Cohen, Professor of Anthropology and South & Southeast Asia Studies
Nayanika Mookherjee, Professor in the Department of Anthropology; Co-Director (Social Sciences and Health) in the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University

A talk by Sadaf Noor E Islam, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, on the health-seeking behaviors of Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps in Bangladesh, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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DATE: Thursday, September 27, 2022

TIME: 9am Berkeley | 5pm UK | Calculate your local time

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ABSTRACT
An anthropological examination of the health-seeking behaviours of Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps in Bangladesh, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. One international organisation providing medical care in the Kutupalong camp has found non-cooperation among the residents regarding the health facilities on offer to them. This ethnography highlights the Rohingya refugees’ active ‘mistrust’ (Carey 2017) of these medical services. We argue that these prevalent forms of mistrust provide a lens through which their individual life trajectories and politics can be understood in the context of the history of their systemic oppression by the Myanmar government. We reflect on the precarity and vulnerability of the Rohingya refugees, within which they identify mistrust as a source of resistance and protection. The mistrust of the Rohingya communities also highlights their attempts to communicate with a global public (Canetti 1960) and exhibits the ‘crowd politics’ (Chowdhury 2019) within a continued statelessness which is engendered by the Bangladeshi and Myanmar governments. This article makes an original contribution to the discussion of trust, mistrust, and rumour in society, identifying ‘the crowd’ as a site of resistance, and providing an account of the distinctive experience of the Rohingyas as refugees, and their health-seeking behaviour in the camp.

SPEAKER BIOS
Sadaf Noor E Islam is a medical anthropologist with extensive ethnographic research experience through her Wellcome Trust-funded PhD on the biomedicalisation of death in Bangladeshi hospitals. Her research interests are in the fields of health, biomedical technology, death and end-of-life care, hope and health; gender and social inequalities; and hospital and ethnographic research. She is well networked with and knowledgeable about Bangladeshi and Rohingya contexts at ‘home’ and in the UK diaspora. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate on the British Academy/Leverhulme-funded research project ‘Household Dynamics under Crisis: COVID 19 Policies and its Implications for Bangladeshis at Home and in the Diaspora (UK)’.

Nayanika Mookherjee is a professor at Durham University (UK) and has expertise in political anthropology, genocide, migration and state violence, gendered violence in conflicts, and reconciliation and adoption, specifically linked to Bangladesh. She is the author of The Spectral Wound. Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971 (2015 Duke University Press; 2016 Zubaan). In 2019 she co-authored a survivor-led guideline, graphic novel and animation titled ‘Birangona and Ethical Testimonies of Sexual Violence During Conflict’, in Bangla and English, which received the 2019 Praxis Award from the Association of Professional Anthropologists. It is being used for teaching research methods by academics as well as by governmental and non-governmental organisations working with survivors of sexual violence during conflict. She is the Principal Investigator of the British Academy/Leverhulme-funded research project ‘Medicine in Name Only’27(2020–2022) (SRG20201602): ‘Household Dynamics under Crisis: COVID 19 Policies and its Implications for Bangladeshis at Home and in the Diaspora (UK)’
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Established in 2013 with a generous gift from the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Foundation, The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley champions the study of Bangladesh’s cultures, peoples and history. The first of its kind in the US, the Center’s mission is to create an innovative model combining research, scholarships, the promotion of art and culture, and the building of ties between institutions in Bangladesh and the University of California.
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Event is FREE and OPEN to the public.

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Details

Date:
September 22
Time:
9:00 am – 10:30 am PDT
Event Category:
Website:
https://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/SPH.html?event_ID=147958

Venue

Zoom

Organizer

The Institute for South Asia Studies
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