Sam Dubal: Beyond Humanity, or How Do We Heal?

We are excited to have Sam Dubal (visiting scholar at the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine at the Institute of Societal Issues and MD candidate at Harvard Medical School) for our March 17 Anthropological Inquiry meeting. To RSVP and receive a copy of the paper, please email Julia Sizek ( or Max Waterman ( by Mar. 15. Paper information below. 
Beyond Humanity, or How Do We Heal?


This piece is a draft concluding chapter from Against Humanity: Why the Concept Does Violence to the Common Good (forthcoming, University of California Press).  A provocative ethnography focusing on former Lord's Resistance Army rebels in northern Uganda, Against Humanity explores forms of life that exist beyond humanity – the political lives of rebels during and after the war; what they were fighting for; how they understand their lives today; and how they were harmed by the humanitarian and civilian idea that their experiences were not human. 

This chapter recaps how and why the concept of humanity does violence to the common good as articulated in the rest of the book.  It then offers new, radical ways of healing social suffering, beyond humanity and humanitarianism.  After detailing a personal trajectory, it addresses the question of how to reach the common good through a philosophy of anti-humanism.  Specifically, it discusses the practical possibility of a radical anti-humanist medicine as a way of healing our sick societies.  When the chains of humanity and humanism are lifted from far too many weary shoulders, we might begin to formulate new ways of thinking and doing anthropology, medicine, activism, and intervention in ways that bring us closer to the common good.


Sam Dubal, Ph.D., is a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, and an M.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School.  He earned his Ph.D. in medical anthropology from UC-Berkeley and UCSF in 2015.  During his time at Berkeley, he co-founded ‘Envisioning Radical Experiments in Clinical Medicine’ (Rad Med), a collective of interdisciplinary scholars, patients, and practitioners working on practical applications of critical social theory into clinical medicine.  He will begin residency training in general surgery this summer.  He plans to specialize as a trauma surgeon caring for poor communities of color affected by violence. 

Event details
Friday, March 17, 2017 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Room 15, 2224 Piedmont