Pyar studies Black sociopolitical life and death, policing and medicalization, subject formation, and the epistemic organization of health, disease, and risk. At the core of his research, one could also say that a foundational question is the following: Given the extended social upheaval of racial violence, for Black people, what does it mean to rest? Through his research, he would hope to imagine a future of Black relaxation and idleness — where Black people do not have to constantly endure, denounce their humanity, and hide their anguish and rage — and work toward building health policy is more oriented toward a detailed reading of Black everyday life.
MORE ABOUT PYAR
Pyar is committed to Black Studies. His interdisciplinary research background is one deeply committed to humanistic inquiry as a process of cultivating health, connecting diverse people, and humanizing medical practice and education.
DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — SPRING 2023
The Spectral Defect: Rethinking the Drug War through Medicine
This dissertation is an intellectual history of medical diagnoses that have been used to ‘explain away’ deaths that occur in state custody, dating from roughly the 1960s to the present. Many of the diagnoses examined throughout this project (i.e. excited delirium, ganja psychosis, vegan syndrome) are not recognized by the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the like. Yet, these conditions still appear in autopsies, toxicology reports, death certificates, and state inquests into ‘suspicious deaths’ all across the globe, prompting the question: How does the medicalization of police violence travel across the boundaries of the nation-state and what might we say about a kind of transatlantic pathologization of Black life and death? Here, the author decidedly revisits the archives of forensic pathology to trace the politics of knowledge that gives rise to present-day cultural and political claims. From these documentary techniques, the author hopes to craft new ways of thinking about the roles that social scientists and historians play in the construction of biomedical accounts and the analysis of epidemiological information.
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