Lisa Stevenson

Assistant Professor of Anthropology McGill Unicversity

Lisa Stevenson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at McGill University and the editor of Critical Inuit Studies: An Anthology of Contemporary Arctic Ethnography (2006). In her latest book, Life Beside Itself, Stevenson takes a haunting ethnographic journey through two historical moments when life for the Canadian Inuit has hung in the balance: the tuberculosis epidemic (1940s to the early 1960s) and the subsequent suicide epidemic (1980s to the present). In it she describes a world in which life is beside itself: the name-soul of a teenager who dies in a crash lives again in his friend’s newborn baby, a young girl shares a last smoke with a dead friend in a dream, and the possessed hands of a clock spin uncontrollably over its face. In these contexts, humanitarian policies make little sense because they attempt to save lives by merely keeping a body alive.