UCL Anthropology


Charlotte Hawkins

Charlotte Hawkins

UCL Emailcharlotte.hawkins.17@ucl.ac.uk
Websites: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-hawkins-737a7b58/
Year of start: 2017 
Supervisors: Professor Daniel Miller, Professor Sara Randall 
Subject: Anthropology 
Fieldsite: Uganda

PhD Research

I am a PhD researcher on the global comparative study, 'the Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Aging', led by Professor Daniel Miller at UCL. Based on 16 months fieldwork in Kampala, Uganda's capital, my research will focus on the contemporary experience and meaning of ageing in close comparison with the project's 11 other fieldsites. This will trace the impact of wider social and demographic change on 'middle age', in particular the increasing ubiquity of mobile phones. Working with older adults and their familial networks, I will discuss and observe experiences of ageing and the life course, especially as they pertain to age-related health concerns and intergenerational relations. This study will attempt to go beyond critique, by contributing ethnographic insights to an mHealth initiative, and by making them accessible to a wider, non-academic audience. 

My masters research at the University of Amsterdam explored mental health stigma in Uganda, where I spent three months in rural and urban psychiatric hospitals meeting health workers, services users, their relatives and the wider community. My thesis focused on the ways that social meanings attributed to mental illness are reinforced by their outcomes, and negotiated across institutional, communal, inter and intra-personal domains. The study observed social trajectories as they were made visible on the minds, bodies and identities of those with proximity to mental illness in Uganda. It prompted an interest in the potential for anthropological research to expose and alleviate health inequities, particularly in relation to chronic non-communicable disease.   

Research interests

  • Social determinants of health
  • Aging and healthcare
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Perceptions and experiences of mental health
  • Changing demography & intergenerational relations
  • The use and consequence of mobile phones
  • Cooperative moralities


East Africa, Uganda

Scholarships & Funding

2017-20: European Research Council (ERC), PhD funding, Department of Anthropology, UCL