Elliott M. Reichardt, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is pursuing a PhD in anthropology at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. Elliott’s dissertation research examines aging, access to healthcare, and the economy in rural communities in sub-arctic Canada. Elliott graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, and from the University of Cambridge with a master’s degree in health, medicine, and society. Elliott has broader scholarly interests on the history and anthropology of global health. His work has been published in Medicine Anthropology Theory and Medical History.

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

I am currently interested in the social production of optimistic futures, especially in global health projects. This means that I am interested in how governments, NGOs and scientists describe and understand social problems in such a form as to allow them to be solvable through intervention. This description, therefore, allows these agents to believe in the possibility of a desired future occurring. In constructing the possibility of a desirable future, these agents will often invoke specific styles or forms of historical narratives that reconfigure past failures as understandable and resolvable. This process of generating belief through constructing the past constitutes my topic of inquiry.

Previously, I have been interested in the emergence of global health in the Caribbean during the early 1900s as a distinct mode of practice, and its relationship to statecraft. This research has drawn upon archival research from digitized archival resources as well records and diaries held at the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

All Publications

  • 'To Awaken the Medical and Hygienic Conscience of the People': Cultivating Enlightened Citizenship through Free Public Healthcare in Haiti from 1915-34. Medical history Reichardt, E. M. 2020; 64 (1): 32-51


    This paper addresses the relative scholarly oversight of the history of public health in Haiti through a close examination of the colonial public health system constructed and operated by the United States (US) during its occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. More than simply documenting a neglected aspect of Caribbean history, the paper offers the US occupation of Haiti as a remarkably clear example of a failed attempt to use a free public health service to cultivate a health conscientiousness among the Haitian citizenry through the aggressive treatment of highly visible ailments such as cataracts and yaws. I argue that the US occupation viewed the success of the Haitian Public Health Service as critical to the generation of a taxable, compliant and trusting citizenry that the colonial state could enter into a contract with. This idealistic programme envisioned by the US occupation was marred by financial mismanagement, racism, delusions of grandeur and contempt for Haitian physicians that resulted in the production of a far more precarious public health service and administrative state than the US occupation had hoped. By the time the Great Depression arrived in 1930 the Haitian Public Health Service was gutted and privatised, having successfully provided the majority of Haitians with free healthcare, yet failed to have persuaded them of the value of being governed by a centralised administrative state.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/mdh.2019.75

    View details for PubMedID 31933501

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6945216

  • Relocating obesity with multiauthor ethnography Medicine Anthropology Theory Reichardt, E. M. 2018; 5 (5): 98-109

    View details for DOI 10.17157/mat.5.5.637