Philippe Bourgois, Ph.D.

Philippe is Professor of Social Medicine and Anthropology at UCLA. He cofounded the Center in the Department of Psychiatry/Semel Institute in 2015 with psychiatrist/historian Dr. Joel Braslow to create an intellectual community of interdisciplinary clinician/social scientists and public health colleagues in the Geffen School of Medicine that. He is a proponent of a “public anthropology” that brings humanities and social science theory to bear on urgent contemporary social problems. His ethnographic fieldwork began in the 1980s in Central America during the conflictive revolutionary years, and moved to multiple US and multiple US inner cities (East Harlem New York, North Philadelphia, and Los Angeles) where he has been documenting dramatic shifts in narcotics markets, violence and homelessness. He publishes in clinical and in social science social science journals. Two of his books have become academic bestsellers In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio (Cambridge U Press) and Righteous Dopefiend (UC Berkeley Press). He is currently conducting fieldwork in multiple collaborations with medical students, clinicians, social service providers, and public health epidemiologists. On incarceration, serious mental illness, firearm violence and drug markets in the Tijuana-Mexico/Southern California region, and in Philadelphia. In 2018 he was elected to the American Academy of Sciences. He has founded and expanded several MD-PhD programs in the social sciences beginning with UCSF (where he was the founding Chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine), followed by the University of Pennsylvania (where he was a Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Knowledge) and now at UCLA. His first faculty positions were at Washington University in St. Louis, San Francisco State University (where he served as Chair of Anthropology), and the National University of Costa Rica.

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