Article ID: CBB146332003

(De)Racializing Refugee Medicine (2020)


Based on ethnographic research within refugee-serving institutions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA), this paper examines the relationship between physicians and the knowledge they produce and consume about caring for refugees from around the world. I explore the “seething presence” of race in refugee medicine, a domain of medical practice whose entanglement with racial ideology and practice has been underexamined. I consider how knowledge about refugees from different groups—whether racially laden designations like “Asian” or “African” or national markers like Congolese or Burmese—circulates in clinical spaces as health-care teams diagnose and treat refugees using standards of “evidence-based” medicine. Assessing the primary literatures that refugee health-care providers use to justify varying care plans, I argue that race, while often unmentioned, structures the practice of refugee medicine. Additionally, the implicit use of race as an analytic, not racism or economic injustice, often disguises the impact of structural racism and inequality in refugee health disparities. I end with some reflections on how we might conduct a more just practice of refugee health care—and by extension, health care more generally—by shifting our gaze from the particularities of seemingly obvious cultural difference to social structure.

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Article Katrina Karkazis; Rebecca Jordan-Young (2020) Sensing Race as a Ghost Variable in Science, Technology, and Medicine. Science, Technology, and Human Values (pp. 763-778). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Peitzman, Steven Jay
Brown, Kathleen M.
Collins, Kenneth E.
Condran, Gretchen A.
Davidovitch, Nadav
Haynes, Douglas Melvin
Social History of Medicine
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
New Books Network Podcast
Journal of Historical Geography
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
Johns Hopkins University
University of Rochester Press
Physicians; doctors
Medicine and society
Public health
Asclepiades of Bithynia
Du Bois, William Edward B.
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
18th century
Philadelphia, PA
United States
Great Britain
South Africa
New York City (New York, U.S.)

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