Andrew McDowell is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University. He has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Harvard University. His research interests focus on care, contagion, pharmaceuticals, diagnosis, and inequality in North and Western Indian social worlds entangled with tuberculosis. His current book project Breath, contagion, and caste: The intimate poetics of tuberculosis in India takes up the problem of spread. A study of rural Indian families muddling through overlapping atmospheres of airborne infectious disease, growing consumptive aspirations, and caste contagion, it theorizes life touched by spreading, uncultivated affects.
In a second project McDowell considers global health’s role in TB’s dynamic local biologies. Tracing globalized treatment and diagnosis interventions in India, this research examines the human and microbial impact of global health initiatives that aim to manage patients’ access to technologies and medicines, standardize medical practice in Mumbai’s TB clinics, and guide TB-related expertise and knowledge production across India.
His work has appeared in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Ethos, and The Lancet among other venues. A forthcoming piece in Biosocieties, “Dr. Zahir’s Dilemma: Money and Morals in India’s Private Medical Networks” examines for-profit care in Mumbai’s sprawling northern expanses.