Ethical Dilemmas from New Delhi to Dharamsala

An objective of my research sought to understand whether a concept of ‘mental health’ exists amongst the TCiE (in contrast to the Western definition of mental health that has been developed by UN/WHO). Interestingly, the UN definition appeared incomplete to respondents as it fails to address ethics.

*New paper* ‘Do our bodies know their ways?’ Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley

Some results from my research in Ethiopia are now available, ahead of publication in African Studies Review. The paper, co-authored with Lucie Buffavand, is a product of several years work in the lower Omo valley, where a massive hydroelectric dam and sugar plantations are reshaping the landscape and people’s opportunities to live within it. We investigated the experience of people subjected to a campaign of ‘villagization’ – resettlement associated with the establishment of plantations on lands previously used for farming, herding, and foraging.

Socio-demographic Shifts in Parenthood in Bogota, Colombia

I am essentially interested in what these profound socio-demographic shifts mean for people who do not have children, as well as for those who do. What does parenthood or non-parenthood look like in this context, where modern families might be unrecognisably different from those that were common just a generation ago? How common is non-parenthood and how is it viewed? What does parenthood mean to women and men with children?

Care and collaboration through the PhD cohort

Eight PhD colleagues from the Anthropology Department joined the adventure to go to Snowdonia to bond, write and share. This is just the first stop in a series of social and academic activities that look to pilot, and eventually install, a fieldwork curriculum at UCL for the research degrees that contain a considerable fieldwork component.

From dancing to dogs: the diversity of doctorates at UCL

Every year, UCL’s doctoral students in Medical Anthropology present their research plans and latest findings to fellow staff and students at an annual seminar. The latest PhD day was held on 6th June and the diverse programme demonstrated once again the breadth and depth of research in our department.

Beauty in Crisis

I selected my field – or, rather, my field selected me – after I read an article in the international edition of Der Spiegel,published in May 2013. The article claimed that in ‘austerity Greece’, the wealthy segments of the population “are having more face-lifts and breast implants than anywhere in the world”.

Liberating (Medical) Anthropology

Liberating the Curriculum means letting student input play a large role in re-envisaging education. Creating an environment where education is informed by the rapidly changing academic and political climate. And, in which academics are learning and maintaining a dialogue with movements like ours that want Anthropology to more accurately represent its interlocutors.

Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine

Dr. Sahra Gibbon’s course ANTH7020 Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine incorporates a blog diary in the module design. Students write blog posts focusing on various health technologies in the fields of genetics, biotechnology and the life/medical sciences. Through blogs students are able to experiment with writing style, conduct research into health technologies that interest them, and creatively analyse health technologies by connecting with a wider audience.

Book Launch: Sadness, Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul: Transcending the Medicalisation of Sadness

I found that religion played a crucial role in the way sadness was understood and resolved: symptoms that otherwise might have been described as evidence of a depressive episode were often understood in those more religiously committed within the framework of the Dark Night of the Soul narrative, an active transformation of emotional distress into a process of self-reflection, attribution of religious meaning and spiritual growth.