Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine and Special Treatment and Research Program(STAR), State University of New York (SUNY) / Downstate Medical Center

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2000
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Healing the Trauma of Everyday Life: Un'anga (Traditional Medicine) and Mukondombera (HIV/AIDS) in Chipinge, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is experiencing one of the most severe AIDS epidemics in the world. For both palliative care and pragmatic treatment, many rely on the traditional system of health and healing, not as a substitute for western therapeutics, but as an alternative explanatory model for diagnosis and management of illness through which individuals understand and give meaning to the experience of HIV. My proposed dissertation study examines the use of traditional healing in the care and treatment of people living with HIV /AIDS, and its management of the emotional, psychological and spiritual effects of HIV. In particular, this research endeavors to understand how the purposeful enhancement of the therapeutic process with highly charged symbols and ritualized communication transforms the embodied experience of HIV and the cultural performance of dying.