On leave 2022-2023
George Aumoithe, BA (Bowdoin), MA, MPhil, PhD (Columbia), RYT-200 (Yoga Alliance), is a scholar-artist and historian of the 20th century United States. Professor Aumoithe joins Harvard as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Department of African and African American Studies. His scholarly interests intersect at histories of U.S. politics, civil rights law, public health administration, and comparative welfare state studies.
Professor Aumoithe pursues research, writing, and teaching along with creative practice. His first book manuscript, tentatively entitled Medical Scarcity: The Resegregation of Healthcare in America, traces the genealogy of scarcity in public healthcare in the U.S. by following the decades-long story of healthcare retrenchment in public hospitals from the postwar period to the near present. From his Columbia University dissertation, the manuscript’s archival research spans seven presidential archives from the Johnson to Clinton administrations, features numerous hospital closure cases, and focuses on New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation—the nation’s largest public healthcare system. Under the musical act Efemèr, Professor Aumoithe released the extended play album Yearning in 2020. Self-produced through the independent record label Makeshifting Music, the debut EP explores themes of doubt, intimacy, and misconnection in a world plagued by socio-political tumult. Professor Aumoithe composed a film score for the short documentary film Boukman’s Prayer (dir., Richard Brookshire) in 2021. He is recording a second EP for Efemèr tentatively entitled Healing. Future scholarly articles will examine the history of hospital desegregation jurisprudence, analyze the legal silos of healthcare, public health, and welfare law, and meditate on the ethics of institutionally mistreated and unrepatriated remains of 1985 MOVE bombing victims in Philadelphia. A poem about Black Studies pedagogy in the age of online education is forthcoming in the third volume of Black Pulsations (ed., Patrice Nganang).
Emerging scholarship progresses on two tracks. One evolving book project entitled “The Only One: American Exceptionalism in a World of Universal Healthcare” revisits the classic question of why the U.S. lacks national health insurance through a history of racism. It also questions how industrialized and developing countries adopted privatization ideas from the U.S. Another incipient book project entitled “Borrowed Care: A History of Healthcare Worker Flows from the Global South to the Global North,” historicizes the racialized strata of healthcare labor in the 20th century U.S., focusing on nursing and care work paraprofessionals from the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
Many awards, grants, and fellowships have supported Professor Aumoithe’s work, including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (now, Institute for Citizens & Scholars), the Center for Engaged Scholarship, the American Philosophical Society, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, the Teagle Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and the Leadership Alliance. He was a 2019 J. Willard Hurst Fellow through the American Society for Legal History and the University of Wisconsin School of Law and an ombuds for the 2019 and 2020 Law and Society Association meetings.
Professor Aumoithe was born to Haitian immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and lived with host families in Tunis, Tunisia, and Toyohashi (豊橋市), Japan. Before joining the academy, he assisted the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s national policymaking. Prior to Harvard, Professor Aumoithe was tenure-track Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Department of Africana Studies at Stony Brook University, affiliated with the program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science. At Stony Brook, he taught classes on the history of AIDS and Black urban politics and established the Global Health and Health Inequality Mapping Lab, which augmented ArcGIS technologies with sonic applications to study the COVID-19 pandemic. At Princeton University’s Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, he was a postdoctoral research associate for the theme of “Law and Legalities” and the sub theme of “Law and Difference.” Professor Aumoithe organized the 2019 Princeton workshop “Law, Difference, and Healthcare: Making Sense of Structural Racism in Medico-Legal History.” He is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher trained in vinyasa who incorporates mindfulness and accessible chair-based movement exercises in his teaching.
Photo credit: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
- “Learning From Decades of Public Health Failure,” The Nation, January 19, 2022.
- “Dismantling the Safety-Net Hospital: The Construction of ‘Underutilization’ and Scarce Public Hospital Care,” Journal of Urban History, November 10, 2021.
- “The Racist History That Explains Why Some Communities Don’t Have Enough ICU Beds,” The Washington Post, September 16, 2020.
- “Half of Low Income Communities Have No ICU Beds. Why?,” Amanpour and Company, September 28, 2020.
- “Medicaid and Medicare Since the 1960s,” C-SPAN American History TV, January 3, 2020.