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Alison Macdonald


Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7473

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632


Room: G12

PhD Social Anthropology, University College London, UK 2013
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, UK (ESRC).

MRes Anthropology, University College London, UK 2008

BSc Anthropology, University College London, UK 2007
Awarded on the Dean’s List; Daryll Ford Prize 2007; Rosa Morrison Prize 2006.

Current: Teaching fellow in Social Anthropology

Research Interests:

Medical anthropology, the politics of personhood, subjectivity and gender, biosociality and health activism, South Asia, especially India.

Alison’s doctoral research explores the activities and experiences of Hindu middle-class women who have had breast cancer and are volunteers for grassroots urban breast cancer charities. Based on long-term fieldwork in Mumbai, India, her research traces the relationship between illness, ethical subjectivity and patient health advocacy in relation to emergent forms of breast cancer survivorship. In particular it highlights the relationship between health advocacy and charity as a form of ‘spiritual’ humanitarianism that is inextricably linked to gendered self-cultivation and Hindu ascetic practice.

Alison’s teaching experience covers both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and includes research methodology, kinship, gender and economic anthropology. She is co-organiser of the departmental Research and Reading Group ‘Biosociality, Health and Citizenship’.


Gibbon, S., Kampriani, E., and Macdonald, A. (eds) (in preparation) Special Edition on Cancer Cultures, Anthropology & Medicine.

Macdonald, A. (forthcoming 2014) Situating breast cancer risk in urban India: gender, temporality and social change. In Gibbon, S., Joseph, G., Kampriani, E., Mozersky, J., zur Nieden, A., Palfner, S. (eds) Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: transnational perspectives in the time of BRCA.

Macdonald, A. (2009) ‘Real’ and ‘imagined’ women: a feminist reading of Rituparno Ghosh’s Films. UCL Anthropology Working Paper Series (3/2009).

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