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Webinar: The power of remainder: Politics and Poetics of Healing in Myanmar

Date and Time: Sept 15, 2022 | 3:00-4:15pm HST

Location: Crawford Hall 115

Speaker Bio:

Celine Coderey is a socio-cultural anthropologist holding a PhD from the University of Provence (FR) and currently appointed as Research Fellow and Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. Her field of expertise spans from medical anthropology and anthropology of the body, to anthropology of religion, but also to questions of identity in relation to artistic and cultural practices, heritage making and temporalities. After conducting research on Myanmar for 15 years, she has recently re-oriented her focus toward French Polynesia and notably the Marquesas islands. She also work as a consultant providing psychosocial support to communities affected by political conflicts in Myanmar.

Abstract from Celine Coderey:

Based on the book I am currently writing, my presentation examines how Buddhist communities living in the geo-politically marginal state of Rakhine deal with their health vulnerabilities by relying on a diverse medical repertoire. This repertoire includes merit making activities, offers to guardian spirits, ingestion of herbal and pharmaceutical drugs, and appeals to mediums, exorcists, astrologers and doctors. The goal is to unpack the relationship between plurality, positionality – of people, knowledge and practices – and medical efficacy. I base my analysis on the concept of remainder arguing that dealing with health and illness is in fact dealing with remainders of different natures – karmic, mathematical, biological, geo-political – which at the same time are structuring and enabling possibilities. Thanks to its polysemic nature, remainder can be used as a prism casting light on how social, political, economic, cultural forces are embodied through health and illness and through attempts to protect the former and cure the latter, and to what extent these attempts can be successful.