Member Profile

Laura Meek

Assistant Professor, Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, University of Hong Kong

Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Integrative Medicine (CAM/IM) Special Interest Group, Society for Medical Anthropology, Co-Chair

Research Interests

About Laura

I am an Assistant Professor in the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. I am a medical anthropologist who researches counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bodily epistemologies, and the politics of healing in East Africa. I received my Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, as well as an M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. My first project, Pharmaceuticals in Divergence: Radical Uncertainty and World-Making Tastes in Tanzania, is based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Iringa, Tanzania, and focuses on the proliferation of counterfeits in local biomedical markets, where an estimated 30-60% of drugs are thought to be fake. I approach this global health challenge through the lens of feminist and postcolonial science studies, as a way to engage both conditions of radical uncertainty and world-making innovation happening in Africa today. My second project, The Grammar of Leprosy: Temporal Politics & An Impossible Subject, develops a line of inquiry which was prompted by my discovery that the antibiotic cure for leprosy was readily available, and yet inaccessible, for my interlocuters in Tanzania in need of treatment. I am currently developing a multi-sited and interdisciplinary inquiry into the temporal politics of leprosy elimination campaigns across historical archives, scientific knowledge production, and global health initiatives. Additional areas of my scholarship include the medicinal significance of sensory qualities like taste, histories of medicine and healing across the Indian Ocean world, practices of dreaming as medical interventions in Tanzania, and more recently, intersections of the pro-democracy movement and Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong.





Drugs and Uncertainty in Tanzania

Laura Meek (2019) | Anthropology News 59(6) |

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