Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Elizabeth Pfeiffer — Viral Frictions: An Ethnography of Global Health, Intersecting Inequalities, and the Persistence of HIV Stigma in Western Kenya

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Birkelund Board Room, 111 Thayer Street

Elizabeth Pfeiffer will discuss her forthcoming book, Viral Frictions: Global Health and the Persistence of HIV Stigma in Kenya. This work chronicles her ethnographic research in one highway community in western Kenya, where she has spent a decade exploring how and why stigma persists in the age of treatment. Disrupting the chronically, oversimplified narrative about stigma as a “local” phenomenon, Pfeiffer will outline the central argument of her book: HIV stigma persists through frictions that are the result of complex processes of globalization, including efforts to ‘end AIDS.’ Presenting a few examples from the book, in this talk, Pfeiffer will demonstrate how HIV stigma interacts with issues such as ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, social change, and international aid systems.

Elizabeth (Libby) J. Pfeiffer is an engaged socio-cultural anthropologist with specializations in medical anthropology, critical global health, and African Studies. Currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rhode Island College, her work in Kenya has been published in a variety of journals including, Culture, Health & Sexuality, Global Public Health, and African Studies Review. Dr. Pfeiffer’s forthcoming book, Viral Frictions: Global Health and the Persistence of HIV Stigma in Kenya is currently in press with Rutgers University Press’s special series Medical Anthropology: Health, Inequality and Social Justice.

Africa Initiative