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Philippe Bourgois: PIK Professor
January 30, 2007, Volume 53, No. 20

Philippe Bourgois

President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ronald Daniels have announced that Philippe Bourgois, a world renowned medical anthropologist from the University of California, San Francisco, has been appointed the University’s fifth Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor. 

Dr. Bourgois has earned international acclaim for his ethnographic research with drug abusers. His research encompasses medical anthropology, cultural production, political economy, urban anthropology, substance abuse, HIV prevention, violence, ethnography, ethnicity and immigration, and inner city social suffering. He has devoted much of his recent research to the prevalence of violence and disease among homeless drug abusers in San Francisco.

Dr. Bourgois’s books include In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, which received the 1996 C. Wright Mills Prize from the Society for the Study of Social Problems of the American Sociological Association and the 1997 Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. 

Conceived by Dr. Gutmann, PIK professorships are awarded to exceptional scholars whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across academic disciplines. 

“The appointment of Philippe Bourgois to this PIK professorship will be of enormous benefit to Penn’s strong medical anthropology program,” said President Gutmann, “and also to our medical researchers and clinicians who endeavor to create more pragmatic public health strategies and interventions to help our most vulnerable populations. Much of Dr. Bourgois’s research brilliantly probes the myriad behaviors, belief systems, and social structures that affect public health. He is also a spellbinding classroom teacher who will have a tremendous impact on teaching and research throughout our University.”

Dr. Bourgois will hold the Richard Perry University Professorship, named in recognition of a gift from Richard Perry, a Penn Trustee and founder of the investment management firm Perry Capital. Dr. Bourgois will hold appointments in the department of anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences and the department of family practice and community medicine in the School of Medicine.

 “We are delighted to welcome to Penn one of the world’s leading medical anthropologists whose work is quintessentially interdisciplinary,” said Provost Daniels. “Philippe Bourgois has a demonstrated record of bringing anthropological knowledge and insight to bear on medical issues and, in turn, his own research has been shaped by a deep understanding of research issues and clinical practice in medicine.” 

At the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Bourgois is a professor in the School of Medicine and vice-chair of the department of anthropology, history and social medicine. 

He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in social studies, master’s degrees in anthropology and in development economics from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford. Dr. Bourgois completed his post-doctoral training at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. 

Almanac - January 30, 2007, Volume 53, No. 20