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The Anthropology of Obstetrics and Obstetricians: The Practice, Maintenance, and Reproduction of a Biomedical Profession

Robbie Davis-Floyd, Rice University, Houston
Ashish Premkumar, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Obstetricians are the primary drivers of the research on and the implementation of interventions in the birth process that have long been the subjects of anthropological critiques. In many countries, they are also primary drivers of violence, disrespect, and abuse during the perinatal period. Yet there is little social science literature on obstetricians themselves, their educational processes, and their personal rationales for their practices. Thus, this dearth of social science literature on obstetricians constitutes a huge gap waiting to be filled. These ground-breaking edited collections seek to fill that gap by officially creating an “anthropology of obstetrics and obstetricians” across countries and cultures—including biopolitical and professional cultures—so that a broad and deep understanding of these maternity care providers and their practices, ideologies, motivations, and diversities can be achieved.

Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Rice University, Houston, Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and Senior Advisor to the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction, is a well-known medical/reproductive anthropologist and international speaker and researcher in transformational models in childbirth, midwifery, obstetrics, and reproduction.

Ashish PremkumarMD is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, as well as a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist practicing at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Illinois. He is also a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at The Graduate School at Northwestern University.


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