More than 20 anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and global health specialists gathered at Boston University on Nov. 9 and 10 at the first Symposium on Global Health and the Social Sciences. Sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the gathering was convened and hosted by Pardee Center Faculty Research Fellow Joseph Harris, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Pardee Center Director Anthony Janetos delivered opening remarks and participated in the sessions.
Over a day and a half, the participants presented and discussed a number of topics in global health research from the perspectives of the three social science disciplines. The agenda included presentations and discussions organized around five themes including: global health governance, reproductive health and human rights, universalism, infectious disease response, and access to pharmaceuticals. During lively discussion sessions, the group shared insights about various methods and approaches used among the three disciplines and noted overlapping interests in consistently seeking to understand the embedded context of whatever issue or topic is being studied, as well as the sources of power that influence outcomes related to the issue or topic.
A conference report was published by the Pardee Center to provide a summary of the discussions that occurred at this seminal gathering. The report is intended to spur more meaningful conversations about global health research among the fields of anthropology, political science, and sociology more broadly, and move this domain of social inquiry in the direction of greater coherence, shared knowledge, and community.