Call for Participation in Symposium: 


Disrupting Global Health Narratives:  

Alternative Perspectives on the World Bank’s Influence on Global Health


21-23 January 2019

Brocher Foundation Centre

Hermance, Switzerland


The University of Edinburgh's Global Health Governance Programme invites applications from early career researchers to attend its 2019 Symposium, ‘Disrupting Global Health Narratives,’ at the Brocher Foundation Centre. We especially encourage women and scholars from non-OECD countries to apply. The Symposium draws on our Economic Gaze project (PI Devi Sridhar), which explores the emergence of the World Bank’s global health framework. It will bring together world experts in anthropology, history, health policy, and political science to consider current understandings (‘narratives’) of the World Bank’s investment in health since the 1970s. The goal of the Symposium is to identify ways in which ‘alternative narratives’ – narratives with a more inclusive perspective – can be used to study international health organizations like the World Bank.  

As the World Health Organization collaborating Centre on Global Health History at York University has shown, global health knowledge, capital, and technologies do not flow in one direction. Yet, most health histories display a ‘Northern bias,’ in which voices of experts at health organizations are represented more than those of local authorities or individuals receiving health interventions. The Symposium will build on this groundbreaking work on WHO alternative narratives, and apply it for the first time to the World Bank.

The Symposium will take place over three days, and will include panels on the World Bank and health in the context of: (1) nutrition and chronic diseases, (2) infectious diseases, (3) maternal and child health, (4) metrics and health system strengthening, (5) financialization of health, and (6) human rights. Each panel will consider the adequacy of traditional sources – archival sources, qualitative and oral history interviews, financial data, and ethnographies – that have been used to chronicle the World Bank’s health strategies and investments.

 For more information about the Global Health Governance Programme, please visit our website ( and take a look at our recently published series on the World Bank and global health in The BMJ (

We are seeking early career scholars (students, recent graduates, and post-doctoral researchers) specializing in anthropology, sociology, history, political science, and/or public health. You must have a demonstrated interest in the governance of health organizations and global health policy. The Symposium is free of charge, and catering – but not lodging or travel costs – will be included. You must be able to attend all three days.

To apply, please email with your CV and a 250-word statement on (1) your particular interest in global health policy and (2) your goals for contributing to and participating in the Symposium.

For full consideration, please submit your application by 15 October 2017.