Vehicle of Death: Traffic, Trauma, and Movement in India

February 21, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Derby Hall, Room 1080 | 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210

Lecture by Harris Solomon, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Global Health, Duke University

This paper stems from an ongoing ethnographic research project about traffic accidents in Mumbai, India.  It is based primarily in the emergency room and trauma ward of one of Mumbai’s busiest public, municipal hospitals. In the context of traffic accidents, traffic in the ward is in many senses contiguous with traffic in the world outside the hospital. The bleed between the two domains is one of my primary interests. India’s roads are quickly becoming the world’s deadliest, in no small part because urban space is constantly under construction and repair. This phenomenon plays out in bodies. While traffic is often understood as primarily a problem of urban planning and policy, I argue that traffic is also a somatic problem, and that medicine is a primary site of traffic’s resolution. The paper elaborates this claim through the ways that patients, their families, ward staff, and physicians reckon with the thorny merger of city and body. 




This event is sponsored by the STS@OSU Discovery Theme’s Cultures of Science Working Group and co-sponsored by the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at The Ohio State University. Contact person: Juno Parrenas <>.