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Jenna Grant on Bioethics and Postcolonial Politics in an HIV Prevention Trial in Cambodia
WhenWednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campus locationGowen Hall (GWN)
Campus room201
Event typesLectures/Seminars

Over the past decade and a half, an increasing number of clinical trials have been conducted in Cambodia, making the country a source of data about HIV, malaria, and other conditions. Has Cambodia also shaped the practice of clinical trials? If so, how, and to what effect? Assistant Professor Jenna Grant (Anthropology) takes up this question by exploring Cambodia’s first experimental trial, the Cambodia Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis trial. The trial was designed to test the safety and efficacy of tenofovir as a prevention for HIV infection, and was cancelled in 2004. Debates about ethics of the trial invoked international bioethics guidelines, as well as historical relations of vulnerability and responsibility between foreigners and Cambodians, and between Cambodian leaders and Cambodian subjects. These debates shift the object of concern in classical bioethics, from the experimental human subject to the relation between subjects and researchers.

Jenna Grant teaches anthropology of medicine, technology, visuality, and Southeast Asia. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Seeing clearly: Medical imaging and its uncertainties in Phnom Penh. The book explores histories and contemporary practices of medical imaging in Cambodia’s capital. Before joining the anthropology department, Grant was a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and participated as anthropologist in the SOREMA (Society Resistance Malaria) project at Institute Pasteur du Cambodge. Grant also works on projects with Medicine Anthropology Theory (MAT), and Visual & New Media Review, a blog of Cultural Anthropology online.

This lecture is part of a 2-credit course titled "ANTH 324/524 Current topics in Medical Anthropology and Global Health” and the lectures are open to the public. For more information, contact the course coordinator, Marieke van Eijk (

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