Libbet Crandon Malamud

Overview


Libbet Crandon Malamud (1947-1995) was a feminist anthropologist, a medical anthropologist, and a Latin American scholar “known for her marvelous intellectual energy and great independence” [1] . She is most well known for her contributions to understandings of medical pluralism in the Andes, particularly in Bolivia, during a time of significant social, political, and economic change. Her most famous work, From the Fat of Our Souls: Social Change, Political Process, and Medical Pluralism in Bolivia (1991), examines the micro-macro linkages between global economics and health, and puts forth the framework for understanding medical dialogue as a social idiom [2] [3] .

Biography


Libbet CrandoWarren-LCM_Obit_1995.jpgn-Malamud was born in 1947 and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1973 from Elmira College in upstate New York and continued onto her doctor studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She received her doctoral degree in 1980, and was Sylvia Forman’s first graduate student. Her dissertation focused on health-seeking decision-making in the Bolivian Andes [4] .

In 1979, Crandon-Malamud began teaching as an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, with a joint appointment in the department of community medicine at the University’s Health Center in Farmington. In 1983, she was hired as an assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University, and later served as an associate professor from 1990 until 1994. From 1985-1994, Crandon-Malamud also served as a professor of sociomedical sciences through a joint appointment with the School of Public Health. Unfortunately, in 1994, Crandon-Malamud was passed over for tenure at Columbia University. Despite this disappointment and her on-going struggle with breast cancer, she picked up the pieces and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where she became the founding director of the Gender Studies Program and an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock [5] [6] .

Those who knew her spoke of this time in her life as a great struggle, but also highlighted that she continued to be energetic and dedicated to her students, her research, and her efforts in program building and community organization [7] [8] [9] . At the University of Arkansas, Crandon-Malamud created a new interdisciplinary curriculum on gender issues and worked with local African-American community organizers to bridge the divide between the university and the community. During her career, Crandon-Malamud also served as editor-in-chief of the medical anthropology series, “Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology and International Health” [10] .

Libbet Crandon-Malamud died on February 5th, 1995, after a long struggle with breast cancer. She was 47. She was survived by her daughter, Anna Crankshaw, and her husband, Jaime Malamud Goti.

Research and Work


images.jpegLibbet Crandon Malamud’s research largely focused on medical anthropology, inequality, the social construction of gender, economic anthropology, and Latin America[11] [12] . Her most well known works and publications focused on her fieldwork in the highlands of Bolivia with Aymara and mestizo populations. Her investigations into health-seeking decision-making in the village she dubbed Kachitu incorporated these shifting contexts and highlighted the dynamic relationship between class, ethnicity, and various medical systems, revealing the symbolic significance of health-seeking decision-making, and its political, economic, and social implications. The culmination of this research was From the Fat of Our Souls: Social Change, Political Process, and Medical Pluralism in Bolivia (1991), which includes numerous illustrations drawn by her daughter during their two years in Bolivia together [13] [14] .

In addition to her extensive research regarding health and medicine in the Bolivian altiplano, Crandon-Malamud also conducted ethnographic research in Honduras, Costa Rica, Brazil, Guatemala, and Jamaica, much of which was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the Inter-American Foundation, and the Organization of American States [15] [16] . Despite working in such a wide variety of field sites, she was deeply committed to each of her endeavors. In fact, one of the hallmarks of Crandon-Malamud’s work is the engaging and poignant nature of her writing, which conveys the intimacy of fieldwork, her personal dedication to socially committed research, and her insightful contributions to anthropological theory [17] [18] [19] .

After her passing, several of Crandon-Malamud's colleagues, including Joan Koss-Chioino, Thomas Leatherman, and Christine Greenway, put together the edited volume Medical Pluralism in the Andes as a tribute to her and her contributions to medical anthropology. In it, a variety of prominent anthropologists examine Crandon-Malamud's research and contributions as well as elaborate on their research in the Andes and the impact Crandon-Malamud had on their work.

Major Publications


Crandon, Libbet
1983 Grass roots, herbs, promotors and preventions: a re-evaluation of contemporary international health care planning: The Bolivian case. Volume 17. Kidlington: Elsevier.

Crandon, Libbet
1983 Why Susto. Ethnology 22(2):153-167.

Crandon, Libbet
1986 Medical Dialogue and the Political Economy of Medical Pluralism: A Case from Rural Highland Bolivia. American Ethnologist 13(3):463-476.

Crandon-Malamud, Libbet
1991 From the Fat of our Souls: Social Change, Political Process, and Medical Pluralism in Bolivia. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Crandon-Malamud, Libbet
1991 Phantoms and physicians: Social change through medical pluralism. In The anthropology of medicine: From culture to method, eds., Romanucci-Ross, L, Moerman, D and Tancredi, L. 85–112. New York: Bergin & Garvey.

Crandon-Malamud, Libbet
1993 Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade: The Americas Before Columbus. The Latin American Anthropology Review 5(2):93-93.

Crandon-Malamud, Libbet
1993 Blessings of the Virgin in Capitalist Society: The Transformation of a Rural Bolivian Fiesta. American Anthropologist 95(3):574-596.


Online Resources


None Found

Further Reading


J.D. Koss-Chioino, T. Leatherman, and C. Greenway, eds.
2003 Medical Pluralism in the Andes. Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology and International Health. New York. Routledge.

Kleinman, Arthur
1995 Writing at the Margin: Discourse Between Anthropology and Medicine. Berkley. University of California Press.

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References



  1. ^ email from Kay Warren, April 21st, 2012
  2. ^ J.D. Koss-Chioino, T. Leatherman, and C. Greenway, eds. (2003) Medical Pluralism in the Andes. Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology and International Health. New York. Routledge.
  3. ^ Kleinman, Arthur (1995) Writing at the Margin: Discourse Between Anthropology and Medicine. Berkley. University of California Press.
  4. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  5. ^ Baer, Hans A. (1995) In Memory: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. University of Arkansas, Little Rock: Campus Forum.
  6. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  7. ^ phone conversation with Joan Koss March, 31st, 2012
  8. ^ Baer, Hans A. (1995) In Memory: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. University of Arkansas, Little Rock: Campus Forum.
  9. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  10. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  11. ^ Baer, Hans A. (1995) In Memory: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. University of Arkansas, Little Rock: Campus Forum.
  12. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  13. ^ J.D. Koss-Chioino, T. Leatherman, and C. Greenway, eds. (2003) Medical Pluralism in the Andes. Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology and International Health. New York. Routledge
  14. ^ Kleinman, Arthur (1995) Writing at the Margin: Discourse Between Anthropology and Medicine. Berkley. University of California Press.
  15. ^ Baer, Hans A. (1995) In Memory: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. University of Arkansas, Little Rock: Campus Forum.
  16. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  17. ^ Baer, Hans A. (1995) In Memory: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. University of Arkansas, Little Rock: Campus Forum.
  18. ^ Warren, Kay (1995) Death Notices: Libbet Crandon-Malamud. Anthropology News 36(4):67-68
  19. ^ phone conversation with Joan Koss March, 31st, 2012