The Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series presents:

"Epidemic Proportions: Living with the Public Perils of 'Globesity' in India"
with Harris Solomon, Brown University

Thursday, February 24, 2011
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 3323

In India, public health officials have estimated that up to a quarter of the population is or soon will be overweight.  One of the primary rationales guiding this concern is the concept of "globesity," a presumed transnational spread of excess weight along West-to-East channels of prosperity sparked by neoliberal reforms.  Globesity invokes an invasion of excess, marked by ambitious appetites and misguided nutritional decision making.  This sense of invasion has prompted preliminary policy responses in India that tend to focus on individualized,  miseducated consumption as the most pressing problem at hand. However, globesity's narrow focus on instrumental consumerism crowds out important questions about how metabolic disorders may emerge as much from problems of scarcity as they do from excess. Solomon's talk traces such possibilities through their specific arrangements of risk, affect, and mortality in the streets, clinics, and home kitchens of Mumbai.  He explores what it means to co-exist alongside a disease, especially when the disease is framed as a "disease of prosperity" that signifies economic advancement as much as it does an epidemic.  He suggests that conceptualizing obesity as a matter of co-existence, rather than as a form of transnational invasion, can illustrate how food becomes risky and how persons become caught up in a mass health problem, as this approach can pinpoint the unlikely alliances that shape policy, and can offer alternative accounts for risky relations between global capital, chronic disease, and individual agency.

For further information, please contact Norma Miranda,

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