UCL Anthropology


Medical Anthropology

Medical Anthropology examines how health and wellbeing are socially and culturally constituted in comparative and transnational contexts and the ways in which culture influences the experience of illness, the practice of medicine and the process of healing for the individual and community. It explores how the experiences and perceptions of the body, self or notion of the individual or person influence the illness experience, and how cultural values and practices shape and are themselves shaped by biomedical research and practice and non-Western medicines and healing traditions.

Staff working in the Medical Anthropology section are committed to actively developing Medical Anthropology at intersections with clinical practice, primary care, public health, bioethics, science and technology and cultural psychiatry.

Staff research interests include:

  • Healing rituals and psychiatric care among the Navajos and in Bhutan; Patients' experiences of treatment and the culture of medicine in the US and UK (Joseph Calabrese)
  • Ethics and mindfulness-based therapy in the UK and Thailand (Joanna Cook)
  • Psychopharmaceuticals and community mental health, subjectivity and psychoanalysis, science and technology studies, migration and borders, in Ireland and the US (Michael D'Arcy)
  • Genomic knowledge and technologies and biosocialities and cancer in UK, Cuba and Brazil (Sahra Gibbon)
  • Malaria and vector-borne infectious diseases in the Philippines and South East Asia; photovoice and participatory visual methodologies (photography, film and mapping) (Dalia Iskander)
  • Pregnancy, pregnancy ends, miscarriage and (foetal) personhood in the UK and in Qatar (Susie Kilshaw)
  • Science and medicine of immunology and personhood in South East Asia (David Napier)
  • Ageing, care, and creative health (play and games) in the United States and the United Kingdom (Carrie Ryan)

Our research platform, Subjectivities and Biosocialities of Health and Illness, promotes dialogue between anthropology, clinical practice, scientific knowledge, primary and public health in different national and global arenas, generating collaborations with departments and institutions inside and beyond UCL.

We host a weekly public Medical Anthropology research seminar, with speakers invited from across the world to present and discuss their work.