Medical anthropology; ethnography; global health; India: outsourcing of clinical drug trials; Tanzania: childhood malaria; East Africa: marine conservation; dispossession; extractive industry; political ecology
I trained as a medical anthropologist with specialization in global health, first at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and then at Emory University, Atlanta, from where I received my Ph.D in Anthropology. I have conducted extensive ethnographic research in India and Tanzania. My research interests revolve around issues of health, illness, and healing that affect the everyday lives of ordinary people, and especially those who live in marginalized communities in India and Tanzania. In the Indian context, I have examined the political economy of the outsourcing of pharmaceutical clinical trials.
In the Tanzanian context, I have conducted ethnographic research on the everyday lived experience of marginalized people who are caught in a process of rapid social transformation engendered through neo-liberal economic reforms. I have specifically examined what the privatization of health care has translated into for the marginalized people in coastal Tanzania at a time of mounting financial burdens, uncertainty, and increasing prospects of being afflicted by life-threatening infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. I have also conducted research in Tanzania, specifically examining the community response to the introduction of artemisinine-based combination drug therapy (ACT) in the treatment of childhood malaria. As part of an on-going larger project, I have documented how and why some of the radical shifts in malaria control strategies have occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last few years, and what these changes mean for those who are most severely affected by malaria.
I have documented my research on malaria in Tanzania conducted over a decade in my book Silent Violence: Global Health, Malaria, and Child Survival in Tanzania, published by the University of Arizona Press (2013). More recently, I have developed an interest in documenting the social impact of marine conservation and development projects on the Tanzania-Mozambique border. My ongoing project titled micropolitics of conservation and dispossession on a marine park in southeastern Tanzania (a.k.a Mtwara Project) is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Research Grant (2014-2016).
I also served as chair of the African Studies Minor Program at UBC (2012-2015). For more information please visit: http://www.africanstudies.arts.ubc.ca/
I currently hold the Keith Burwell Professorship in Anthropology.
- Kamat, V.R. (2014). “The ocean is our farm”: Marine conservation, food insecurity, and social suffering in southeastern Tanzania. Human Organization 73(3):289-298.
- Kamat, V.R. (2014). Fast, cheap, and out of control? Speculations and ethical concerns in the conduct of outsourced clinical trials in India. Social Science and Medicine 104:45-55.
- Kamat, V.R. (2013). Silent Violence: Global Health, Malaria, and Child Survival in Tanzania. Tuson, University of Arizona Press.
- Kamat, V.R. (2012). Invited commentary to Claire Wendland’s Animating biomedicine’s moral order: The crisis of practice in Malawian medical training. Current Anthropology 53(6):755-788[776-777].
- Kamat, V.R. and Nyato, D. (2010) Soft targets or partners in health?Retail pharmacies and their role in Tanzania’s malaria control program. Social Science and Medicine 71(3):626-633.
- Kamat, V.R. and Nyato, D. (2010) Community response to artemisinin-based combination therapy for childhood malaria: A case study from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Malaria Journal 9:61.
- Kamat, V.R. (2009) Anthropology of childhood malaria in Tanzania. In. Robert Hahn and Marcia Inhorn (eds) 2nd edition. Anthropology in Public Health. Bridging Differences in Culture and Society. Pp. 3-32. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.
- Kamat, V.R. (2009) Cultural interpretations of the efficacy and side effects of antimalarials in Tanzania. Anthropology and Medicine 16(3):293-305.
- Kamat, V.R. (2008) Dying under the bird’s shadow: Representations of degedege and child survival among the Zaramo of Tanzania. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 22(1): 67-93. PDF
- Kamat, V.R. (2008) Reconsidering the allure of the culturally distant in therapy seeking: A case study from coastal Tanzania. Medical Anthropology 27(2):106-135.
- Kamat, V.R. (2008) This is not our culture! Discourse of nostalgia and narratives of health concerns in post-socialist Tanzania. Africa 73(3):359-383.
- Kamat, V.R. (2006) “I thought it was only ordinary fever!”: Cultural knowledge and the micropolitics of childhood febrile illness in Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine 62(12):2945-2959.
- Kamat, V.R. (2001) Private practitioners and their role in the resurgence of malaria in Mumbai (Bombay) and Navi Mumbai (New Bombay): serving the affected or aiding an epidemic? Social Science and Medicine 52(6):885-909.
- Kamat, V.R. (2000) Resurgence of malaria in Bombay (Mumbai) in the 1990s: a historical perspective. Parassitologia 42(1-2):135-148.
- Kamat, V.R. and Nichter, M. (1998) Pharmacies, self-medication and pharmaceutical marketing in Bombay, India. Social Science and Medicine 47(6):779-794.
- Kamat, V.R. and Nichter, M. (1997). Monitoring product movement: an ethnographic study of pharmaceutical sales representatives in Bombay, India. In. Sara Bennett, Barbara McPhake and Anne Mills (eds). Private Health Providers in Developing Countries: Serving the Public Interest? Pp.121-140. London: Zed Press.
- Kamat, V.R. (1995) Reconsidering the popularity of primary health centers in India: a case study from rural Maharashtra, India. Social Science and Medicine 41(1):87-98.
Best Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2010-2011. Anthropology Students Association (January 09, 2011)
Best Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2009-2010. Anthropology Students Association (May 27, 2010)
Outstanding Teaching Award 2004-2005: Anthropology & Sociology Undergraduate Society (March 29, 2005)
AWARDS FOR SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH
Visiting Research Fellow, The Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland, October and November 2015.
Wenner Gren Richard Carley Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded for 12 months starting April 2011.
Early Career Scholar (September 2005 to August 2006): Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies.
Canadian International Resources and Development Institute Grant 2015-2016.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Development Grant 2014-2016.
Martha Piper Fund Grant 2008-2009
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Standard Research Grant 2006-2009
Hampton Research Fund Grant 2005-2006
Prior to coming to UBC
Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research 2000-2001
National Science Foundation 1999-2000
Emory University Fund for Internationalization 1999
International Research Development Centre, Canada 1994-1996