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International Collaborations

Princeton-Brazil: Global Health

Program Overview

The Program in Global Health and Health Policy hosts a research and teaching project between Princeton University and the University of São Paulo (USP) around global health, health policy, and the anthropology of medicine and health. Internationally recognized as Latin America’s top university, USP has strengths in social science and medicine, preventive medicine, public health, and cutting-edge and applied basic science. This project brings together faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate students from both universities to conduct interdisciplinary research and develop pedagogical initiatives. 

Coordinated by GHP co-Director João Biehl, the Princeton-USP project promotes student and faculty exchange, as well as collaborative teaching and research with a focus on early involvement of students in field-based scholarship. The project will develop initiatives in dialogue with the Center for Health and Wellbeing within the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and Interna tional Affairs and the Department of Anthropology at Princeton, as well as the Department of Preventative Medicine, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Anthropology at USP. The project will foster a vibrant and multilayered scholarly community, connecting members of each university from across generations for sustained collegial exchange.

See specific project activities below, along with opportunities for students and the most up-to-date information on academic events. For more information contact project administrator Lindsay Woodrick (

Research   •   Teaching   •   Conferences and Related Academic Events   •
Opportunities for Students   •   News  •   Other Resources


Program Activities


Research initiatives bring together both student and faculty collaborators from Princeton and USP across departments to conduct research on global health, health policy, and the anthropology of medicine and health. Small grants are available to fund case studies and exploratory research by interested graduate students and faculty. Current projects include:

  • North-South-South Partnerships in Global Health and Development
    This project will explore the growing importance of emerging democracies such as Brazil in global health politics—examining in particular the forms of medical and technology exchange now being called “South-South” partnerships, and the relationship between public and private sectors in development and novel health initiatives. Our small team at Princeton team has begun preliminary multi-sited fieldwork on emerging linkages between Brazil and Lusophone African countries in the areas of pharmaceutical production, health policy and foreign assistance, and we are looking for partners at USP also interested in the politics of South-South connections as a site of transformation in global health. Possible areas of future research could include topics such as discursive and structural differences between China and Brazil’s presence in Mozambique; comparative case studies that examine the impact of partnerships with Brazil across multiple countries (not only in Africa but also work from Latin America and the Caribbean), and analyzing in particular the need for more nuanced understandings of these heterogeneous “South-South” forms and the larger issues they raise about changing circulations of technoscience today. A proposed conference in Fall 2014 could bring together scholars from USP and Princeton to create a creative forum for discussion. Continuing conversations may afterwards be published as a journal special issue, edited volume, or other scholarly collaboration, as we analyze and reflect critically on this emergent transnational paradigm.
  • Health and the Environment
    This project will focus on intersections between human health and the environment, thinking comparatively across multiple regional contexts and ecological issues—including topics such as sanitation, climate change, community sustainability, environmental law, pollution and human rights, risk and chronic conditions, etc. A potential conference or workshop in the 2013-2014 academic year could foster initial conversations and debates on this growing area of interest, and establish a platform for continuing collaborations on this work between USP and Princeton faculty and students. We would use case studies from Brazil as an ethnographic baseline (putting disciplinary approaches such as medical humanities, anthropological methods, public health evidence, and environmental studies in dialogue with each other) and we will also draw from comparative cases elsewhere in the world in trying to think broadly about how specificities from Brazil fit into larger global phenomena and entangled biological, social and political shifts.
  • Difference, Rights, and Novel Social Formations in Religion and Medicine
    This project will examine changing social formations in Brazil, particularly as they intersect with markers of social difference and growing urban communities of patient-citizen-consumers. Probing the intersecting fields of religion and medicine, this initiative focuses on ways that novel collective formations shape notions of care, the body, the family, citizenship, theology, and patienthood in rapidly shifting 21st century contexts (including urban violence, globalized technoscience, claims to rights, evangelical movements, and other emergent realities). This project would draw from ethnographic work conducted by interested USP faculty members studying various strands of social difference, particularly race, class, sexuality, religion, etc., in dialogue with interested Princeton faculty and participating students from both institutions. Possible public forums—such as a potential conference in 2014—need to be explored and the project’s key participants identified. By comparatively discussing their diverse studies of social markers of difference, collaborators will expand current debates that examine novel social and political responses to broad processes such as globalization, neoliberalism, urban transformation, medicalization/pharmaceuticalization, and the advent of human rights paradigms.


The Princeton-USP partnership supports visiting faculty from USP who teach courses relating to Brazil and to global health, health policy and the anthropology of medicine and health. Planned courses include:

• Fall 2013 Health and the Social Markers of Difference
• Fall 2014 Medical Humanities

Conferences and Related Academic Events

The Princeton-USP project 

Opportunities for Students

The Princeton Brazil Global Fellows Program supports undergraduate and graduate students at Princeton who wish to pursue independent work in Brazil.