Scarlet Speakers from the Heart of New Brunswick:
War Biology in the Middle East
Omar Dewachi Professor, Anthropology
Please join us virtually on March 23, 2023, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm.
Trained in clinical medicine and anthropology, Dr. Dewachi’s work examines the social, medical and environmental impacts of war and violence in Iraq and the broader Middle East. His award-winning book, Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq documents the untold history of the 20th century rise and fall of Iraq’s healthcare under decades of US-led interventions. His forthcoming manuscript, When Wounds Travel, chronicles two decades of ethnographic research and public health work on conflict medicine and displacement across East of the Mediterranean. More specifically, the work documents the wide spread of conflict-related injuries and antimicrobial resistance in the context of the reconfigurations of healthcare and humanitarian geographies under decades of protracted conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Dr. Dewachi is the author of numerous publications that have appeared in medical, anthropological, and global health journals, including the Lancet.
As the war on terror concludes its 20th anniversary, the world’s attention seems to have shifted elsewhere. I pose a question: how should we reckon with the afterlives of empire? In this talk I build on close to two decades of ethnographic research on war injury and medical and public health practice in the Middle East to explore what I call “war biology”– how the wounding of war is registered in human and non-human life. The legacies of war wounds linger, from the collapse and reconfiguration of healthcare infrastructures, to the movement of refugees and patients across the region, to the rise of environmental toxicity and superbugs. Focusing on the uneasy nexus of militarism, environment, and the body, I propose “war biology” as a window into the aftermath of violence and the precarious futures of our planetary and global health.