reflected face image

Department Events

Brown Bags

Brown Bag talks take place at Noon on Fridays. A schedule of upcoming History of Science Brown Bags can be viewed on the History Department Events web page.

January 27 (Tuesday) at 4:00 pm

Stuart Rennie, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Title: “When Bioethics Mimics Medical Humanitarianism.” (event poster)

For more than a decade, high profile initiatives in USA, the European Union and the United Kingdom have sought to promote bioethics in developing countries. Critics have argued that these initiatives have neocolonial traits and can be understood as new forms of missionary work. In this talk I will examine the criticisms, while reframing these bioethics initiatives as a peculiar form of medical humanitarianism. My experiences in ‘bioethics capacity-building’ projects in Sub-Saharan Africa will inform an exploration of some of the philosophical issues and ethical challenges such initiatives raise.

Location: 1210 Medical Sciences Center (MSC) (map location)
March 19 (Thursday) at 1:00 pm

Seventh Annual Bioethics Symposium
“Challenging the Norm: Fostering Ethics” is the theme of the Seventh Annual Bioethics Symposium which covers a myriad of topics revolving around hospital ethics committees and research ethics, among others.

Admission is free. Program details and links for video from the events can be found at

Time: 1-5 pm

Location: Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC), Room 1306, 750 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705

The symposium is presented by UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics.
March 24 (Tuesday) at 4:00 pm

Peter Redfield, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Title: “Small Dreams and Magic Bullets: From Infrastructure to Humanitarian Design.”

A leading expert on medical humanitarianism and author of Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors Without Borders (Univ. of California Press, 2013), Peter Redfield will discuss recent efforts to respond to conditions of disaster and endemic poverty with innovative objects and small-scale designs. Partly decoupled from both states and standard infrastructure, these innovations suggest a material twist at the intersection of humanitarianism, development and global health, along with a reconfiguration of social problems and imagined futures.

Location: Union South, Varsity Hall 3 (map location) (event poster)
This is a free public lecture. No registration is required.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Global Health Institute. Funding for this event is generously provided by the University Lectures Committee.
© 2020 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents