Benjamin Sieff

Research Interests:

Right now I have two projects on my mind. On the one hand, I'm interested in American medical approaches to obesity-related chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. How are these conditions characterized by doctors and medical students? From where do these perceptions arise, and how are they entwined with other aspects of medical culture? How do they inform pharmacological and disciplinary treatment plans and emerging therapies like gastric bypass surgery? I've also been conducting research on perceptions of high blood pressure in Khayelitsha, a peri-urban township on the outskirts of Cape Town, where the South African government has funded a a massive roll-out of anti-hypertensive drugs. Here, I'm curious about the intersection of institutional authority, structural violence, and historical legacy as people make sense of this asymptomatic, purely technologically diagnosed "disease."