Dr. Clinton Humphrey
Areas of Interest
Medical Anthropology; Enskillment, Embodiment, and Sensorial Attunement; Illness Experience and Social Suffering; Medical Discourse and the Racialization of Disease; Morality and the Self; Phenomenology, Semiotics, and Critical Theory; Global Health and Social Justice; Videographic Methods; Atlantic Nicaragua and the U.S.
For the most part, my interests in medical anthropology have grown out of my ethnographic work among ailing Miskitu lobster divers in Nicaragua. As the lobster industry has slowly collapsed along the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, so have the bodies and livelihoods of thousands of men suffering from chronic decompression sickness. The overarching aim of this research has been to track the ways in which illnesses come into being and persist for these commercial divers, as they struggle to navigate an exploitive transnational seafood industry in addition to the dangerous undersea ecologies where they must carry out their work. This context of suffering has inspired ongoing studies of how globalized political-economic processes converge with the generative embodied practices—including communicative practices—shaping perceptions of illness, the environment, and the precarity of one’s labors. My most recent writings focus on suffering experiences as transformative processes that can reconstitute a morally charged sense of self and reorient one toward an array of vulnerabilities and ethical concerns within one’s family, community, and nation.
An important aspect of my research is the extensive use of videography to record social interaction and communication. In Nicaragua, the use of video has been crucial when analyzing the productive power of public discourses to racialize disease and covertly blame the sufferers. Videographic methods have also fueled my deep interest in exploring the various ways in which anthropologists employ visual media to capture “raw data” and/or produce ethnographic representations. I have produced and edited several anthropological films, most of them in collaboration with students, colleagues, and Native American community activists in Northern Arizona.
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (2016)