Narkomania: Drugs, HIV, and Citizenship in Ukraine

Lecture | October 4 | 12:30-2 p.m. | Kroeber Hall, Garron Reading Room (346)

 Jennifer J. Carroll, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Elon University

 Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), UCB Medical Anthropology Program, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine

In the last few years, Ukraine has born witness to the major geopolitical crises of our decade: revolution; state-sponsored killings; foreign invasion; forceful occupation by a major world power; and ongoing war. Ukraine is also experiencing an enormous opioid epidemic and is home to the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. Despite all of our differences, Ukraine’s ongoing struggles with substance use, border integrity, and Russian interference appear strikingly similar to our own. Based on more than a decade of fieldwork in cities and villages across Ukraine, Dr. Carroll’s ethnographic research on substance use and treatment in the context of these crises asks us to consider:

• How are the social values of “addiction” and “treatment” in Ukraine entangled with broader discourses of power and sovereignty?
• How are those values mobilized in efforts to construct Ukrainian and Russian national identities?
• How do the elite subject people who use drugs to selective policing, human rights violations, and other delimited forms of citizenship in an effort to consolidate political power?
• And shouldn’t we, in the U.S., be asking ourselves the same questions?

Dr. Carroll’s work clearly demonstrates that medicine is a part of statecraft. She will discuss how social imaginations of people who use drugs facilitate their use (and abuse) in leveraging political authority, demonstrating how global health para-infrastructures, state biopolitics, citizenship, and political sovereignty are always enmeshed.