Skip to main content

Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: SoMA: Students of Medical Anthropology


2020 SoMA Symposium [Digital Edition]

soma symposium 2020

Read a write-up of our virtual symposium on the COVID-19 Perspectives Blog here.

SoMA warmly invites you to join us for an experimental digital edition of the 2020 SoMA Symposium: Uncertain Futures, Uncanny Present(s) on the 27th April. The event is open to our colleagues and friends within and without the Edinburgh community and from within and tangential to anthropology. Please register here: 
COVID-19 has overwhelmed global consciousness. sparking criticisms about the nature of our healthcare infrastructures and economies, the production of global metrics, our understandings of what constitutes ‘good’ care, and cultural notions of moral responsibility, preparedness and risk. What is foregrounded, and what becomes hidden from view, forgotten, or absent from discussions, practices and experiences surrounding COVID-19? 
In this reshaped symposium (following the postponement of SoMA’s Uncertain Futures symposium due to the virus) we invite junior and early career researchers to contribute  250-word responses and reflections which speak to or between these themes. Researchers may present their original paper submitted to the Uncertain Futures symposium, or offer new ethnographic, speculative, or imaginative thoughts concerning the work of medical anthropologists in these new and uncertain presents/futures.
Our discussion will unfold in two parts: Reveal (morning session), and Obfuscate (afternoon session). Creative and experimental formats are welcome. Responses may include media such as photographs, sounds, artistic outputs. Although this workshop is hosted by the Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, perspectives from both wider anthropology and related disciplines are encouraged.Please note that submitting a response is not required to attend and participants may choose to attend one or all sessions.
Themes of these reflections may include, but are not limited to:
  • Politics of care
  • Affect
  • Morality
  • Responsibility
  • Risk
  • Metrics of global health
We aim to collate these responses into a collaborative output to publish on EdCMA’s / MAT’s new research blog.

Programme draft

9.30 - 10.00: Set up and welcome:
10.00 - 11.30: What is revealed by COVID-19
11.30 - 13.00: Break
13.00 - 14.30: What does COVID-19 obfuscate?
14.30 - 15.00: Discussion and concluding thoughts
Please RSVP to this registration form to attend the Symposium. To participate, please respond to either the REVEAL or OBFUSCATE responses with your intended submission or email one of the SoMA Team by the 17th of April.

Writing workshop

Please find below call for papers for our upcoming SoMA Symposium 'Uncertain Futures' on date to confirmed.

With fires raging in Australia; apocalyptic health threats like the coronavirus; and political protests in Hong Kong, India, Chile - as we enter the 2020s, uncertain futures proliferate. As early career scholars, how can we study, account for and navigate these phenomena, especially from positions which are themselves vulnerable and precarious? More broadly, what theoretical insights can medical anthropology offer into care, protest, health and wellbeing, technology, more-than-human relationships and ecologies?  

We invite ethnographic, methodological and imaginative/speculative papers from junior and early career researchers which speak to or between these themes. Although this workshop is hosted by the Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, perspectives from both wider anthropology and related disciplines are encouraged. The Symposium is anticipated to be an accessible, friendly event with an emphasis on peer learning. Lunch will be provided.

Please share widely!

Our deadline for abstracts is the 20th of February and we will let you know by 24th of February if you are selected to present. Abstracts can be emailed to

Warm wishes,





white image