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About Us

Philippe Bourgois, PhD

Philippe was Professor and Chair of Anthropology at San Francisco State University in the 1990s and founding Chair of Social Medicine at UCSF from 1998 to 2005. He moved to the University of Pennsylvania as the Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Community Medicine. He started the formal MSTP MD/PhD tracks in Anthropology at both UCSF and the University of Pennsylvania. Philippe is currently working with Joel Braslow, the Director of UCLA’s MSTP track in the Social Sciences and the Coordinator of the Social Medicine and Humanities initiative in the David Geffen School of Medicine, to grow the increasingly vibrant intellectual community of Clinician-Social Scientists on campus. We are in the early stages of building an exciting consortium with the Social Science tracks of the MD/PhD programs at other UC campuses which we hope to eventually extend to other institutions across the country.

Philippe is the author of several books and edited volumes, including the multiple award winning In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (Cambridge, 1995), Righteous Dopefiend (co-authored with Jeff Schonberg, University of California, 2009), Ethnicity at Work: Divided Labor on a Central American Banana Plantation (Johns Hopkins, 1989), Violence in War and Peace (Co-edited with Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Blackwell 2004), and Violence at the Urban Margins (Co-edited with Javier Auyero and Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Oxford 2015). He has published over 150 articles in medical anthropology, public health, and the humanities.

His fieldwork began in Central America in 1979 (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama) documenting the revolutionary movements and political repression of the early to mid 1980s. Since 1985 his primary fieldwork has been in the US inner city (East Harlem 1985-1981, San Francisco homeless 1995-2007, Puerto Rican North Philadelphia 2007-2015). He has been the Principal Investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant examining the HIV risk environment of indigent drug users that has continuously funded since 1996.