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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


MAYS Conference Guest Lecture

MAYS Conference Guest Lecture: “Who Gets Hijacked?: Navigating Collaborative Medical Anthropology Research in Nigeria”
Speaker: Daniel Jordan Smith # Brown University
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Date and Time
15th Jun 2017 12:40 - 15th Jun 2017 14:00
CMB, 6th Floor Staffroom
MAYS Conference Guest Lecture:
Daniel Jordan Smith, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Brown University 
12:40pm – 2pm, Thurs, June 15th.
CMB 6th Floor staff room
Smith conducts research in medical anthropology, anthropological demography, and political anthropology in sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on Nigeria. His research inter- ests include HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and behaviour, adolescent sexuality, marriage, kinship, and rural-urban migration, as well as patron-clientism, Pentecostal Christianity, vigilantism, and corruption. Smith won the 2008 Margaret Mead Award for A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria. He is also the author of AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria for which he won the 2015 Elliott P. Skinner Award. His forthcoming book is To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job: Masculinity, Money, and Intimacy in Nigeria. He led the Nigeria component of an NIH-supported, five-country comparative ethnographic study entitled “Love, Marriage, and HIV,” and will be giving a presentation on this work as part of the conference. 
“Who Gets Hijacked?: Navigating Collaborative Medical Anthropology Research in Nigeria”
Drawing on more than 20 years of collaboration with local NGOs in Nigeria that has attempted to integrate medical anthropology research with local public health programming and interventions, this paper narrates and analyzes the complex terrain that must be navigated to produce outcomes that serve both researchers’ and practitioners’ goals. Specifically, the paper examines the sometimes-contradictory but sometimes convergent interests of donors, Nigerian government officials and bureaucracies, local NGOs, domestic and international researchers, and local communities in the unfolding of projects that cross the boundary between scholarship and intervention. Using a specific case study—a project that focused on the marital transmission of HIV— the paper explores the negotiation of differing agendas and perceptions. For example, organisations and actors commonly perceive each other as benefitting inappropriately from these collaborative endeavors, whether it is local government officials and community members who think that foreign researchers (and sometimes their local NGO partners) are “feeding fat” off donor funds that back foreign research and local NGO activities, or foreign researchers (and sometimes local NGO staff) who believe that government officials (and sometimes community leaders) attempt to “hijack” donor-funded research and interventions for corrupt purposes. Remarkably, however, mutual interests frequently enable actors and institutions to cooperate effectively, though not without consequences for the results. Rather than addressing the usual (and themselves challenging) tasks of “translating” academic medical anthropological research into usable findings for public health policy and programing, this paper focuses on the cultural and social processes through which such collaboration unfolds in one African setting.
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