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Elliott Reichardt

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Elliott Reichardt

In the Field
Research Interests: 
Medical anthropology; environmental anthropology; anthropology of history, development, & science; Western Canada; political economy; environment; collaborative methods; disability studies; aging; logging; forestry


I am currently interested in the social production of optimistic futures, especially in global health projects. This means that I am interested in how governments, NGOs and scientists describe and understand social problems in such a form as to allow them to be solvable through intervention. This description, therefore, allows these agents to believe in the possibility of a desired future occurring. In constructing the possibility of a desirable future, these agents will often invoke specific styles or forms of historical narratives that reconfigure past failures as understandable and resolvable. This process of generating belief through constructing the past constitutes my topic of inquiry.

Previously, I have been interested in the emergence of global health in the Caribbean during the early 1900s as a distinct mode of practice, and its relationship to statecraft. This research has drawn upon archival research from digitized archival resources as well records and diaries held at the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

I hold a Bachelor of Health Sciences (First Class Honours) from the University of Calgary in Biomedical Science where I researched the immunology of glioblastoma multiforme and a Master of Philosophy in Health, Medicine and Society from the University of Cambridge where I researched cancer screening from an anthropological perspective. In 2018 – 2019, I worked as a research associate at the University of Calgary where I completed a research study on the intersections of psychology, eugenics and the notion of intelligence between 1900-1972 in Canada’s largest forced sterilization program: the Alberta Eugenics Board.