Eram Alam

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: eram@sas.upenn.edu

Eram Alam is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society based in the Center for Africana Studies. She received her PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016.

Eram specializes in the history of race and medicine, US immigration history, US health policy, and science and technology studies. Her book project, The Care of Foreigners: A History of South Asian Physicians in the United States, 1965-2016, explores the enduring consequences of postcolonial physician migration from South Asia to the United States. The project begins with the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and analyzes the transnational movements of foreign physicians through multiple physical and discursive sites - geographic, political, legal, bureaucratic, clinical, and cultural - to show how the intimate spaces of healthcare were and continue to be influenced by Cold War commitments. Invited as a short-term solution to doctor shortages in marginalized communities, Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) have since become a permanent feature of the US healthcare system, comprising at least a quarter of the physician labor force. The Cold War circumstances that inaugurated FMG arrival bear a striking resemblance to the present, with ongoing discussion of issues such as expanded health insurance, skilled labor shortage, and geopolitical “terror.” By studying the position of the foreign physician during these political moments, The Care of Foreigners puts forth an analysis of the limits of inclusion available to the immigrant.

Eram's teaching and research interests include the history and sociology of medicine, global health, postcolonial science studies, and labor and poiitical economy. She holds a BA from Northwestern University and a MA from the University of Chicago.