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Anthropologist of medicine Sarah Pinto focuses on the psychic and social experience of medical care given to women in the context of rural medicine; whether it is delivered by ersatz doctors, women health workers, village big men or NGOs. Pinto has been attentive to how the terms set by development reinforce existing patriarchal, class and most of all, caste hierarchies. Pinto has also studied the institutionalization of women in the highly privatized sector of psychiatric care and its intersection with customary laws and the position of abandoned women in kin networks.
In 2019, Pinto published The Doctor and Mrs. A, which shifted her field of enquiry to a historic psychoanalytic encounter between Dr. Dev Satya Nand and his friend and co-enquirer, the young Mrs. A. Looking at the history of gender in late colonialism, the book tells us that psychiatry’s history of innovation and creative thinking about the self is global, and that modern personal ethics could develop from the Puranas myths or the observation of nationalist politics.
In this conversation, art historian Annapurna Garimella discusses with Sarah Pinto, her work in medical anthropology and how Dr. Dev Satya Nand and Mrs. A have affected her in the way she wants to work and in what she chooses to learn and write from her research. Following the discussion there will be a Q&A session.
Sarah Pinto is Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University and author of Where There Is No Midwife: Birth and Loss in Rural India (Berghahn 2008), Daughters of Parvati: Women and Madness in Contemporary India (University of Pennsylvania Press 2014), and The Doctor and Mrs. A.: Ethics and Counter-Ethics in an Indian Dream Analysis (Women Unlimited 2019/Fordham University Press 2020).
Dr. Annapurna Garimella is an art historian and a designer. Her research focuses on late medieval Indic architecture and the history and practices of vernacular visual and built cultures in India after independence.
Garimella is the Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a research library dedicated to art, architecture, design and craft histories, independent research projects and teaching. She also heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organization with a specialized portfolio of design, research and curation. Jackfruit’s recent curatorial projects include Vernacular, in the Contemporary (Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi 2010-11), Mutable: Ceramic and Clay Art in India Since 1947 (Piramal Museum of Art, 2017) and Barefoot School of Craft in Goa (Serendipity Arts Festival, 2017-18).
She is also an author. Her latest book is the co-edited Marg volume titled The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History (2019).