A guide to events on our campuses.

Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

'The Brain is a Box of Surprises': Habilitating Bodyminds and Caring for Potential After Zika in Bahia, Brazil

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | 4:00 PM

McMillan Hall, G052
McMillan Hall, 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130

This talk traces how Brazilian mothers raising children diagnosed with congenital Zika syndrome mobilize diverse therapeutic technologies to cultivate the optimal development of their children’s bodyminds—what I call habilitative care. Drawing on several years of ethnographic engagement with Afro-Brazilian families affected by the 2015-16 Zika virus epidemic in Bahia, Brazil, I show how discourses of plasticity and potential animate investments in habilitative care. I argue that mothers’ care practices enact disabled children’s potential, insisting that they are worthy of therapeutic investment. Through habilitative care, mothers contest dominant narratives that cast their children, and Black and disabled children generally, as disposable and future-less.


Arts & Sciences


Science & Technology, Humanities & Society



Event Contact


Speaker Information
Eliza Williamson, Lecturer, Latin American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis
Google Calendar iCal Outlook