Past Event

Merlin Chowkwanyun - Public Health and Localism as Analytic Optic and Political Practice: The Case of the Mid-Century United States

February 22, 2023
6:15 PM - 7:45 PM
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Online and in-person: Gallatin School (Room 527), New York University, 1 Washington Place, New York

Event Description 

Conventional medical research fetishes conclusions derived from aggregate (typically quantitative) datasets. What results are top-down, national narratives of health policy that marginalize the thick experience of specific places. This talk takes an alternative approach and argues that one cannot understand the origins of health problems -- and the success of solutions to address them -- without analyzing the local context that surrounds them. We'll examine battles over pollution caused by industrial giants, coal extractors and fights over the unequal distribution of medical care in major cities via deep dives -- not ephemeral stops -- in a number of localities. In addition to arguing for the virtues of the local optic, this talk will also analyze localism as a political practice, which was embraced by community health advocates in the mid-20th century, only to fizzle and confront new challenges a few decades later that remain today.

Event Speaker

Merlin Chowkwanyun, Donald H. Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Executive Committee Member of the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University

Event Information

This event is free and open to the public; Registration required. In-person registration closes at 12PM on the event day. In-person attendees must follow NYU's COVID-19 policies. Online attendees will receive a Zoom link from Eventbrite. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for questions.¬†

This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The University Seminars at Columbia University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The New York Academy of Medicine
  • The New York Academy of Sciences