Susan E. Bell

Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar


Permeable Hospitals, Transnational Communities: A Global Hospital Ethnography in Maine

Susan E. BellSusan E. BellPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz Susan E. BellPhotograph by Jason S. Ordaz 

Dr. Bell’s project studies the circulation and transformation of medical knowledge and practice by investigating encounters between immigrant patients and medical, nursing, and clerical staff in a U.S. hospital. It involves entering a Maine hospital, following adult immigrant patients and their interpreters through two outpatient clinics, and seeing what happens along the way. It combines ethnography with narrative analysis. It focuses on what stories are being told, who is listening, and what tellers and listeners convey about transnational communities and the circulation and transformation of biomedical knowledge. It also focuses on the emplacement of stories—how the physical space, routines, and technologies embodied in hospitals infuse storytelling and the stories told. Throughout, it explores the complicated, global, multi-sited process of biomedicine today by empirically studying what counts as knowledge and how expertise is defined.  

Affiliation at time of award:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College

Sponsored by Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Foundation

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