erezbuki.jpgName: Erez Buki

Department: Anthropology

What Scholarship or Award did you receive? Jeremy Demian Marx Award

What year are you? 4th Year

College: Stevenson College

Where do you call home? Originally from Los Angeles, currently Boston

What is your field of focus? Health workers who transition from biomedicine to alternative medicine

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out? The chance to live with my family on campus provided an opportunity for me to feel a part of the campus environment while raising my children. I could walk to classes, campus events, and the library and not feel like I was abandoning my children.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz? I have accepted a position in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University. I will conduct research on nurses who transition into alternative medicine and how their relationship with biomedicine is reflected in their ethics of care.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here? I read a number of ethnographic works in my first quarter. A sense of the novelistic elements of ethnographies came through. I closed one of these books on the last sentence. A bench at Cowell College supported me with tears in my eyes. Through the saline I looked down on the East Field and Monterey Bay below it. I knew ethnography was the sort of work I would find satisfaction in. A combination of academic and creative expression mixed like the salt and water in the bay, my eyes, and my blood. I remember how deeply I knew this about myself.

How will this scholarship/award impact your academic life/research? Coming at anthropology from an individual perspective runs counter many trends in the social sciences. I have learned the various social theories that animate the field, however I buck against this orthodoxy. Receiving this award from the department has increased my confidence in the relevance of my work.

What is your research about? After researching midwifery and observing a midwife in the field, I had the opportunity to interview her about her transition from nursing in an intensive care unit into being a midwife specializing in water-births. The interview questions sought her understanding of the the social and personal conditions that motivated her switch from nursing to midwifery. Starting from these insights my research follows the structural problems in the medical field that shift an ethics of care away from individuals and their support groups. By following this nurse’s understanding of her self (as a nurse, a midwife, a child, a parent, a woman, etc…) my research traces her paths for making the healthcare system work for her, her social circle, and her clients.