29th Annual Sabbagh Lecture: "When Wounds Travel: Ecologies of War and Healthcare East of the Mediterranean"

Omar Dewachi

On March 31, 2022 at 7 p.m., Omar Dewachi, associate professor of medical anthropology at Rutgers University, will give the 29th Annual Sabbagh lecture: "When Wounds Travel: Ecologies of War and Healthcare East of the Mediterranean." This year, the lecture will be held at Arizona Historical Society's Arizona History Museum at 949 East 2nd Street. Face coverings are required.

The annual Sabbagh Lecture is presented by the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and sponsored by Drs. Entisar and Adib Sabbagh. Both the lecture and the reception that follows are free and open to the public.

About the Lecture
Decades of war and violence in the Eastern Mediterranean have left vast numbers of war-injured and disabled populations with the quest of seeking care and recovery. From Iraq, to Syria, to Lebanon, to Yemen, and to Libya, war injury has become “endemic,” shaping the everyday life of the injured and their families.

During the talk, Dewachi will reflect on some of the human and environmental costs of decades of violence in Iraq and the broader region. Taking the “wound” as an analytic, Dewachi will share insights from his ethnographic and public health fieldwork on the intersections of war, displacement, and the changing therapeutic landscape of medical and humanitarian care. The talk explores the different registers of the “wound” and its entanglements in the thickness of social relations and the broader political and environmental ecologies of wounding. Focusing on the wound and its biosocial life suggests a strategy for opening discussions on care and toxicity, and unveils ways of imagining the history of war and the social and material vulnerabilities of people’s afflicted lives and bodies.

About the Speaker
Omar Dewachi is Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at Rutgers University. Before joining Rutgers, Dewachi taught social medicine and global health in Lebanon, where he co-founded the Conflict Medicine Program at the American University of Beirut. Trained in clinical medicine and anthropology, Dewachi examines the social, medical, and environmental impacts of decades of war and violence in Iraq and the broader Middle East.

Dewachi is the author of numerous publications that have appeared in medical, anthropological, and global health journals, including The Lancet. Winner of the New Millennium Book Prize, his book Ungovernable Life: Mandatory Medicine and Statecraft in Iraq documents the untold history of the rise and fall of Iraq’s healthcare under decades of U.S.-led interventions. His forthcoming manuscript, When Wounds Travel, chronicles close to 10 years of ethnographic research and public health work on war and displacement across East of the Mediterranean. The work documents the wide spread of conflict-related injuries, multi-drug resistant bacteria, and the reconfigurations of healthcare and humanitarian geographies in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon under decades of protracted conflicts.

More Information
If you have questions about the event or access, or want to request disability-related accommodations, please contact the School of Anthropology at anthro@email.arizona.edu or (520) 621-6298.


7 p.m. March 31, 2022


Arizona Historical Society's Arizona History Museum at 949 East 2nd Street