I am a medical anthropologist whose research is situated at the intersection of an anthropology of biomedicine, political anthropology, and reproductive sociology. My ethnographic work focusses on reproductive lifeworlds, care, and chronicity in India. I completed my Ph.D. in Anthropology at Brunel University in 2016 and joined Keele University soon after.
Ph.D. Anthropology (Brunel University), 2016
MSc Social Anthropology (University of Edinburgh), 2009
BA Political Science (Vilnius University), 2008
Research and scholarship
Through extensive ethnographic research in north India, my work centres on questions of care, chronicity, violence, and the body as they relate to various interventions governing fertility, reproduction, and population. My first research strand examines the politics and practice of sterilization and asks how this biomedical state-sanctioned intervention carried out in the name of development fits within women’s intimate, social, and political lives in contemporary rural India. I explore how women’s desires to end childbearing and the choice of a surgical intervention––sterilization––fit within wider ideas surrounding gendered bodies, ideal families, local articulations of power, and structural violence of poverty and caste. This work develops a concept of reproductive chronicity to understand women’s experiences of reproduction in conditions of structural disenfranchisement. This research underpins my first monograph State Intimacies: Sterilization, Care and Reproductive Chronicity in Rural North India (Berghahn Books, Forthcoming). The writing of this book is supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s Hunt postdoctoral fellowship and a grant from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Research Fund (FRF).
My second research strand examines wider reproductive lifeworlds, including the changing birth practices, more-than-human reproductive ecologies, coping with infertility, and reproductive technologies of hope in rural and urban north India. I am interested in situating reproduction and caregiving within wider social relations between people, technologies, spirits, knowledge systems, and institutions. This research has been published in Medical Anthropology and Ethnos.
My third research strand examines the ethics and politics of (un)livable worlds and the management of polycrisis. It further develops the concept of reproductive chronicity against the backdrop of the climate crisis. I bring anthropological theory into dialogue with discourses on the climate crisis and investigate how communities live in and with unlivable environments which precede the contemporary decline of planetary health. I examine how women in north India cope with chronic social and health crises at the household level and how they employ available institutional worlds––of developmental NGOs, biomedical institutions, and state schemes––to help them relieve the intensifying everyday suffering. This research has been funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.
Finally, I also work as part of inter- and multi-disciplinary research teams alongside medical educators, clinicians, and bioscientists. These projects thus far have focussed on the socio-political aspects of health, biomedicine, and medical education, including the social construction of standard-setting practices in medical schools and the construction of situated knowledge in medical curricula.
- Medical anthropology
- Politics of reproduction
- Gender, health, and development
- Structural violence and health
- Politics of development and global health
- Mental health
- Hospital ethnography
Enoch Kolawole: Experiences of abortion amongst HIV-positive women in Sub-Saharan Africa (ESRC NWSSDTP +3)
Helena Kitto: Managing multiple exclusion homelessness in an NGO setting in Stoke-on-Trent (ESRC CASE 1+3)
Jeanette Fanthome: Creative community groups as catalysts for health and wellbeing in Stoke-on-Trent (completed)
I teach the fundamentals of anthropology, sociology, global health, and qualitative research methods to undergraduate medical students. In my teaching, I equip students to critically engage with the social and political dimensions of biomedicine, global health inequalities, and the political economy of health. Carving a meaningful space for medical anthropology within the undergraduate medical curriculum aims to contribute to efforts in decolonizing medicine and to challenge hegemonic assumptions about health, illness, healing, and science. In 2019, I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE).