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D.Phil., Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
MLitt., Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
Diploma, Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
B.Phil., Philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven
The scope and development of my research and teaching interests are readily evidenced through the publication of four books. Masks, Transformation, and Paradox (1986) examines the concepts of personhood both historically and cross-culturally. It focuses on embodiment, impersonation, and performance, on the one hand, and medical botany and human ecology, on the other. Foreign Bodies: Performance, Art, and Symbolic Anthropology (1992) examines various ways in which the cultural construction of Otherness is employed in definitions of Selfhood. The Age of Immunology: Conceiving a Future in an Alienating World (2003) is a critique of the rise of a now-dominant scientific trope that relies deeply on not only "the recognition of Self", but also on the "elimination of Otherness". And The Righting of Passage: Perceptions of Change After Modernity (2004) argues that the variable nature of transformation and psychological growth in the contemporary world disposes us towards understanding the potentially constructive nature of stressful encounters, and especially those stressful encounters that involve how we assess well-being across cultures.
My academic field interests have largely unfolded in the context of Buddhist-Hindu South and Southeast Asian studies, though these have been augmented by projects in rural primary care, among bench and theoretical immunologists, and with clinicians. I have also studied over several years the trials and tribulations of the homeless.
In addition to these writing projects and related research, I maintain an active interest in applied medical anthropology through the directing of Students of Human Ecology, a registered non-profit organization that oversees a number of projects in mentored learning, but especially in the areas of medicine, environment, and culture. This year we will, for instance, sponsor projects in rural primary care, in pediatrics among ethnic minorities, in nutrition in East Africa, among Native Americans, and in Tibetan medical botany. We also will soon launch through the Public Anthropology website www.publicanthropology.org "The "Network for Student Activism" - a site designed to assist students in becoming directly involved in public debate as it relates to issues of human rights and cross-cultural understanding.
Finally, an ongoing interest in the problem of what constitutes "just remunerations" for indigenous knowledge and cultural property has led to the completion of a manuscript in applied anthropology on intellectual property and indigenous rights.