UCL Anthropology

Dr Aaron Parkhurst

Dr Aaron Parkhurst

Associate Professor

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
3rd Oct 2011

Research summary

I am an international researcher and anthropologist focusing on the dynamic human body as a nexus of social relations and social movements, with research on the Human Body in places of medicine, sport, urban environments, outer-space, and technological entanglement. My work in Medical Anthropology includes research conducted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman on the relationship between Modernity, Urbanisation, and Chronic Illness.  I have conducted fieldwork in Britain and the USA on Cyborgs, emerging technology, health and Urban Living. I have developed new biosocial frameworks to understand and combat the rates of chronic illness, Type 2 diabetes, Obesity and Heart Disease in both the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. I bring together these diverse strands in my current research on space medicine, life-science research, and the human body aboard the International Space Station.

My work in the Emirates and in the UK has made novel contributions to our understandings of how conditions of uncertainty become embodied, informing both pathology as well as health-seeking behaviours. Throughout this work I strive to impact and mitigate against the rising global rates of chronic illness, and I have researched biological, social and structural influences to Obesity and Diabetes, and most recently Covid-19, in different contexts globally, publishing this work for scholarly audiences as well as in applied publications for the NHS, Parliament white papers, and reports with Health Think Tanks.

In my role with the ERC funded project Ethno-ISS, I currently lead on research to study the human body off-world, on the International Space Station, and, in partnership with the UK's and the EU's broad  Aerospace industry, the human body in future habitation on the Moon, Mars, and on Earth in the context of rapid environmental change.

Teaching summary

Taught and Convened Modules:

Biosocial Anthropology

Medical Anthropology

The Anthropology of the Body

Sex and Reproduction

The Anthropology of Sport

Culture, Ethics and Religion in the Clinical Encounter

Extraterrestrial Anthropology

Anthropology and Psychiatry