Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMassachusetts Inst. of Technology
Grant numberGr. 10026
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleRobbins, Gabrielle (Massachusetts Inst. of Technology) "Artemisia’s Industry: Between Farm and Factory in the Making of African Pharmaceuticals"
GABRIELLE ROBBINS, then a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in August 2020 to aid research on “Artemisia’s Industry: Between Farm and Factory in the Making of African Pharmaceuticals,” supervised by Dr. Christine Walley. Retitled “Artemisia’s Industry: #MadeInMadagascar Pharmaceuticals Between Farm and Factory,” this project uses multi-methods ethnographic research to understand how plant-based drugs became pivotal to Madagascar’s pandemic response. It examines how Artemisia annua, a medicinal herb, was previously grown on the island as raw materials for antimalarial drug ingredients; how artemisia became a pandemic-era therapeutic resource of global interest; and how its cultivation and processing were mobilized for nationalist crisis response that rejected dependence on Euro-American Big Pharma. Contra analytical emphases on “global pharmaceuticals,” attention here focuses on local, regional, and national “farm pharma” projects fueling new kinds of medical protectionism. Integrating remote and in-person research across Madagascar, Europe, and the U.S., this project contributes novel methodological tools for the anthropology of medicine/pharmaceuticals at the same time as it interrogates how Covid-19 potently reworked operant geographies of medical manufacture and distribution.