What Anthropology Teaches Us about COVID-19: A Conversation between Cultural Anthropologist, Dr. Alma Gottlieb and Physician-Anthropologist, Dr. Bjørn Westgard

Recently, I checked in with Dr. Bjørn Westgard, to see how he was doing. Back in the ‘90s, Bjørn was enrolled in a wildly demanding, combined M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois, where I had the pleasure of serving as his academic advisor. After completing his medical school coursework, Bjørn conducted doctoral research in …

The time of masks: everyone to themselves and Covid-19 for us all

The title of this paper is borrowed from my sister. During a family conversation about Covid-19 in Bamenda, Cameroon, she used the expression to describe the DIY cynical adaptations to the requirement to wear facemasks in Cameroon, which she described as entertainment. There is a scarcity of surgical masks because of border closures and strict …

The “real” transformation of migrant smuggling in the time of COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, allegations of migrant smuggling networks evolving, changing, and undergoing drastic transformations as a result of the pandemic are starting to emerge. Claims of this kind are not new. In fact, assertions of smuggling undergoing Darwinian transformations tend to follow the aftermath of border closures, ramped-up immigration enforcement …