[Sugarman] Outcomes--Global South as an Idea | Detroit-Jo'burg as a Paradoxical Pair

Nancy Hunt nrhunt at umich.edu
Thu Jun 5 02:29:03 SAST 2014

dear all,

Thanks for this Keith and to you and all at Wiser for such a gracious, stimulating time.

My recollections and thoughts are the following:

1) That we thought it might be an excellent idea to enfold parts of 3 and 4 together. I would pleased to continue to work on this theme as a stand-alone, but we did back off the initial idea of launching this theme in Ann Arbor with 20 some persons (perhaps 12-15 from UM) from in and outside the Africa box taking a stand on the subject for a spare 5 minutes, and then mounting these on a website for further discussion.  We did not want to jettison the theme but rather link it to other critical, theoretical, and methodological issues.

2) What also emerged was the idea of linking “Global South as an Idea” to the idea of Detroit as a city in the Global South. By the end of our discussions, the idea emerged of Cath Burns and I using the original Mellon biopower, medical humanities and visual culture theme to undertake work on the problematics of how or whether Joburg and Detroit count (and for whom) as cities of the Global South, especially in relation to health (broadly defined), medicine, healing, pathology, well-being, and the like. 

Cath and I managed to begin brainstorming on this issue in Joburg just before I left, including in relation to her larger medical humanities goals and funding.

Howard Stein and Damola Osinulu have kindly agreed to join with me in organizing the Ann Arbor-UM effort; indeed, we will be meeting on 1 July to begin discussions about how best to proceed, with likely a first significant meeting happening in Detroit-Ann Arbor in April 2017 for a full two weeks during a Detroit Semester when such issues are already being taught and diverse field sites are worked out for visits; and a Jo’burg followup probably one year later. 

We are aiming at a special issue of a major journal discussing the findings, as well as an article in The Lancet setting out our ambitions/conclusions.

In Ann Arbor, we will involve expertise coming out of DAAS (notably Damani Partridge given his wonderful student film laboratory experiment of last year, but also UM’s best historians and other scholars of Detroit), Public Health, Medicine, STS, Architecture & Urban Planning (Andrew Herscher?—already working on trash/waste I believe), History, Anthropology, and the Detroit Semester. We are also mostly likely aiming to involve Wayne State faculty, notably Todd Meyers, medical anthropologist and George Canguilhem translator there (whose theoretical texts we may use): Meyers is already working on matters Detroit.
The work will in many senses be a laboratory for critical, comparative medical humanities.
All the other Mellon themes will be relevant and desirable to embrace: toxicity, capitalisms, the South as an Idea, and critical theory focused on reading, writing, the visual, the aesthetic, and the like (Salt & Cedar will be helpful here hand provide a South African-Detroit tinge)
At the same time, we will with Howard’s help aim at assembling core social epidemiological facts and sorting out their significance, while also seeking to bring these into focus in and through the humanistic, the poetic, the religious (the Pentecostal), and the digital.

THUS, as other calls have been, this one remains VERY wide open. If you would like to be involved, have an idea, abstract, criticism, or objection, please do direct these my way before 30 June. I, in turn, will report on our first Ann Arbor meeting and these contributions in due course.

Howard and Damola and Cath have vetted none of this text yet, so please do know that all remains under discussion. It would be especially wonderful to have some additional South African participation.

Again, many many thanks to the entire Jo’burg team for a marvelous time,

Nancy Hunt

On May 29, 2014, at 2:57 AM, Keith Breckenridge <keith at breckenridge.org.za> wrote:

> Dear all,
> If you haven't yet completed the assessment survey on the first workshop please do so now;  to date we have a small group of responses and it would be good to have a bigger group.  The survey is available from links off http://wiser.wits.ac.za.
> For the purposes of planning I wanted to remind the list that we have five concentration areas, each with two or more organisers.   These groups have different plans for their work, and some of those have already been posted here.  If you have questions please feel free to post them to the general list.
> 1)  Toxicity, waste, detritus -- Gabrielle Hecht and Pamila Gupta
> 2)  Capitalism from the South -- Sharad Chari and Howard Stein
> 3)  Global South as Idea -- Achille Mbembe, Nancy Rose Hunt and Adedamola Osinulu
> 4)  Cultural theory from the Global South -- Sarah Nuttall, Jennifer Wenzel and Joey Slaughter
> 5)  States from the South -- Anne Pitcher and Claire Benit-Gbaffou
> There was some discussion of a sixth concentration area around performance, which seems like a good thing to me.
> Many thanks, K
> ---
> -- 
> Keith Breckenridge  W I S E R - The Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand | Pbag 3, PO Wits,  Johannesburg, South Africa, 2050 | Tel: +27117174272  | Fax: 0867654213 | Web: wiser.wits.ac.za
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