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MAGH Speaker Series: The Trouble with Circles – Monrovia’s Ebola Quarantine and the Future of Armed Humanitarianism

Posted: 10/31/2017 (Local Events)

 “The Trouble with Circles: Monrovia’s Ebola Quarantine and the Future of Armed Humanitarianism”
Daniel J. Hoffman, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
3:30-4:50 PM
Kane Hall, Room 110

Abstract: In August 2014, at the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Liberian health and security forces instituted an emergency armed quarantine around West Point, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.  When West Point residents protested, security forces fought back, killing one person and injuring many others. West Point is an extreme case.  But events leading up to the quarantine, and the lessons being drawn from it, point toward a troubling future in which the line between humanitarian intervention and urban warfare is further eroded.

Daniel J. Hoffman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington. His research has focused on the ways young men participate in various networks that offer them work, such as in resource extraction industries or on the battlefield. In his work and teaching, Hoffman uses visual anthropology and literary ethnography to debunk stereotypical representations of violence in West Africa. Hoffman’s work has been published in Cultural Anthropology, Anthropological Quarterly, and African Affairs, among many other journals. In 2011, Duke University Press published his book “The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia.” His second book, “Monrovia Modern: Urban Form and Political Imagination in Monrovia” (Duke University Press), is scheduled for publication in November 2017.

Next speaker: 8 November– Julius Doyle – PhD Candidate, University of Washington

Dissertation Research: The Health Effects of Resilience among Black American Men in Metropolitan Seattle”

For more information about the MAGH Seminar Series, please contact coordinator Marieke van Eijk (

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Date: 11/01/2017

Time: 3:30-4:50 PM

Location: Kane Hall, Room 110