The Pastoral Clinic takes us on a penetrating journey into an iconic Western landscape - rthern New Mexico's Espala Valley, home to the highest rate of heroin addiction and fatal overdoses in the United States. In a lumius narrative, Angela Garcia chronicles the lives of several Hispa addicts, introducing us to the intimate, physical, and institutional dependencies in which they are entangled. We discover how history pervades this region that has endured centuries of material and cultural dispossession, and we come to see its heroin problem as a contemporary expression of these conditions, as well as a manifestation of the human desire to be released from them. Lyrically evoking the Espala Valley and its residents through conversations, encounters, and recollections, The Pastoral Clinic is at once a devastating portrait of addiction, a rich ethgraphy of place, and an eloquent call for a new ethics of care.
Angela Garcia is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University.