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Deep Cuts: Towards an Anthropology of Surgery

26. März – 30. März 2024 

In-per­son round­table at SFAA 84th Annu­al Meet­ing, March 26–30, 2024, El Dora­do Hotel & Spa, San­ta Fe

Con­fer­ence „Deep Cuts: Towards an Anthro­pol­o­gy of Surgery”
Chair: Vania Smith Allen
Dead­line: 05.10.2023

We would like to invite sub­mis­sions to our in-per­son round­table, Deep Cuts: Towards an Anthro­pol­o­gy of Surgery, at the Soci­ety for Applied Anthro­pol­o­gy annu­al meet­ing. For this round­table, we aim to explore what anthro­pol­o­gy can teach us about top­ics such as sur­gi­cal process­es, vari­abil­i­ty, and out­comes, as well as what these top­ics can in turn teach us about broad­er social issues. 

We invite con­tri­bu­tions to think about and relate to ques­tions such as the following:

- How does sur­gi­cal vari­a­tion across regions impact patient out­comes and expe­ri­ences, and why does it occur?
– How does resource scarci­ty impact sur­gi­cal process­es or outcomes?
– How do patient or physi­cian ideas about aes­thet­ics impact sur­gi­cal process­es, out­comes, and physician/patient decision-making?
– How do patients feel about their own surg­eries? What role do scars play in patient recov­ery and outcomes?
– How do patient cat­e­gories of race, gen­der, class, and sex­u­al iden­ti­ty impact sur­gi­cal deci­sions, process­es, or outcomes?
– How might we the­o­rize inci­sions, scars, and oth­er impacts of surgery on the body?
– What val­ues get placed on spe­cif­ic surg­eries and where do such val­ues come from? (for exam­ple, plas­tic surgery, sur­gi­cal abor­tion, cesare­an sec­tion, organ dona­tion, etc.)
– How can anthro­pol­o­gy bring atten­tion to impor­tant issues relat­ed to surgery in the US and globally?
– How does sur­gi­cal train­ing address any of the above issues?
– How do these ideas have applied impli­ca­tions for med­ical care and practice?

As this is a round­table, we plan to present works in progress in brief, 5‑minute pre­sen­ta­tions, fol­lowed by a struc­tured dis­cus­sion. The goals of the round­table are to share pre­lim­i­nary find­ings and ideas, uncov­er con­nec­tions and syn­er­gies in our work, and estab­lish new ques­tions and direc­tions for the anthro­pol­o­gy of surgery.

Please send a 100 word abstract/summary of your pro­posed top­ic for this round­table (and/or any ques­tions) to: Lydia Dixon ( or Vania Smith-Oka ( by Octo­ber 5th.

Impor­tant dates:

Send abstract (100 words) to the co-orga­niz­ers: Octo­ber 5, 2023
Noti­fi­ca­tion of accep­tance by the co-orga­niz­ers: Octo­ber 10, 2023
Last date for reg­is­tra­tion for the SfAA meet­ing: Octo­ber 15, 2023