Dr Maya Unnithan
|Post:||Reader in Social Anthropology (Anthropology, Sussex Centre for Migration Research, International Development)|
|Location:||Arts C C252|
|International:||+44 1273 872789|
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Maya Unnithan received a Ph.D (1991) in Social Anthropology from Cambridge Universityand holds degrees in Sociology (MA) and Economics (BA Hons). She has taught at Sussex since 1991. Maya has served on various University and Department committees including as University Senator (2000-2004, 2008-2009) and as Sub dean of the School of African and Asian Studies (2001-2003). She was programme convenor of the Master’s programme in Medical Anthropology from 2003-2010. She is advisor to the Global Health Policy Centre, and the University’s Environment and Health Research theme. She is currently leading a cross-campus initiative on Mobilities, Migration and Global Health. She is closely connected with the development of South Asian studies at Sussex.
External to the University, Maya currently serves on various committees: the WHO steering committee on the impact of rights on maternal and child health, the Peer Review College of the Economic and Social Science Research Council, and the Medical Anthropology committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She has previously served on the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland(2004-2007) and as council member of the British Academy Society for South Asian Studies (2004-2008). She is on the editorial boards of three journals, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Ethnicity and Health, and Anthropology and Medicine.
Director of Doctoral Studies in the School of Global Studies
Maya has twenty five years of international and field based research experience and collaborative work with research institutions in India. Her work has received funding from the Economic and Social Science Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development. Maya’s current research is in the anthropology of reproduction, kinship, health, gender and the body. She is especially interested in the analytic implications of glocal flows of bodies, technologies and ideas of reproduction, health and rights. Recently, she completed an Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC,UK) funded research project on NGO engagement with global human rights discourse in the fields of sexual, maternal and reproductive health in India. [ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/research/environmentandhealth/projects/realisingglobalrights ]
She has written on the cultures and experiences of childbirth, infertility, sex selection and surrogacy in India. Conceptually she has developed ideas on reproductive agency, rights and ethics, and more recently considers these in relation to migration and mobility. http://www.sussex.ac.uk/global/research/migration_mobilities_globalhealth
Maya has a further interest in the relationship between anthropological knowledge and methods which led her to co-edit a volume on the subject. She has also a long-standing interest, based on her doctoral research, in caste, 'tribe', kinship and gender relations in NW India. Hear Maya's talk on 'Births, Deaths and Midwives in Rural Rajasthan' in the Global Health Seminar series at Sussex at http://www.sussex.ac.uk/globalhealthpolicy/events/seminars
Maya has edited and co-edited 4 volumes on subjects ranging from reproductive agency (Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing 2004) to anthropological methods (Critical Journeys: The Making of Anthropologists 2006). A further forthcoming edited volume is on cultures of gender, place and health in migrant self and family-making. Her other books include a monograph on kinship, gender and identity politics in NW India (Identity, Gender and Poverty: new perspectives on caste and tribe in NW India 1997, reprinted 2001). She is currently working on a book on the body and biopolitics in NW India.
Drawing on her work on infertility, childbearing, reproductive technologies and rights Maya contributed a background chapter to the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2008 on Culture, Gender and Human Rights; and a chapter to the Association of Social Anthropologists monographs series, volume on Human Rights in Global Perspective (2003). She has published her work in internationally recognised journals including Culture, Health and Sexuality; Asian Bioethics Review, Contributions to Indian Sociology, South Asian History and Culture; Economic and Political Weekly of India.
Maya has also been involved in the public dissemination of her research appearing on Women’s Hour, Radio 4; in dialogue with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2009); sexual and reproductive health policy and practitioners in India and the UK (reports 2010, 2011) and in a short film made by the Wellcome Trust, related to her role as trustee of the UK health charity Target Tuberculosis (2004 onwards) [ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/anthropology/showcase ]
Maya teaches courses in anthropological concepts, medical anthropology, global health and international development. She supervises advanced anthropology undergraduate research dissertations, term papers at Master’s level, and currently provides doctoral supervision to seven Ph.D students working on topics ranging from indigenous midwifery and state policy, sexuality and migration, bio-networking in stem cell research, to caste and rights politics inIndia.
Undergraduate anthropology and interdisciplinary courses taught/teaching include: The Anthropological Imagination; Anthropology of Fertility, Reproductive Health and Social Policy; Issues in Contemporary Anthropology; Kinship, Gender and Social Reproduction; Health and Development; Culture, Knowledge and Power; Religions in their Social Contexts; Feminism and Anthropology; Reproduction, Self and Society; Economic Anthropology
Postgraduate courses taught in social anthropology, gender studies and development include:Medical Anthropology: Between ethnography and public health; Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing; Anthropology of Childbirth and Reproduction; Economy and Society inSouth Asia; Livelihoods and Development Intervention; Culture, Gender and Identity; Gender and Development
Recent dissertations supervised are on topics such as:
Contraception and the reproduction of gender ideologies; The deconstruction and reconstruction of motherhood through surrogacy; Rethinking ‘hegemonic masculinity’ in men’s experiences of infertility and artificial reproduction; Illness narratives and the internet; NGO work on stigma in relation to HIV/Aids and TB inAfrica; Values ascribed to South Asian midwives and their implications for birth outcomes
Current Doctoral Students
- Rachel Olson, Relocating Childbirth: Understanding the politics of authoritative knowledge, identity and risk in the practice of maternal evacuation in Aboriginal communities inManitoba,Canada
- Sajida Ally, Sri Lankan migrant domestic workers health, rights and wellbeing
- Achim Roseman, Experimental Visions: commercialised and science driven forms of experimental stem cell research across Taiwanand MainlandChina
- Dimitra Varevazou, Gender, Health and Healing among the Navaho
- Andrew Lipinski, Foodscapes and Health in Senegal
- Titiksha Shukla, Power and Participation of Dalits in the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme in Maharashtra,India
- Bronwen Gillespie, Anaemia and malnutrition in early childhood in the Peruvian Highlands
Padmini Iyer, Gender, Sexuality and Schooling: Competing Discourses and Lived Experiences in New Delhi
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya and Tremayne, Soraya, eds. (2011) Fatness and the Maternal Body: Women's Experiences of Corporeality and the Shaping of Social Policy. Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality, 22 . Berghahn Books. ISBN 9780857451224
Unnithan, Maya (2010) Learning from infertility: gender, health inequities and faith healers in women's experiences of disrupted reproduction in Rajasthan. South Asian History and Culture, 1 (2). pp. 315-327. ISSN 1947-2498
Unnithan, Maya (2010) Infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in a Globalising India: Ethics, Medicalisation and Agency. Asian Bioethics Review, 2 (1). pp. 3-18. ISSN 1173-2571
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2010) Female selective abortion - beyond 'culture': family making and gender inequality in a globalising India. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 12 (2). pp. 153-166. ISSN 1369-1058
Unnithan, Maya (2009) Culture and Reproductive Ageing. In: Reproductive Ageing in Older Women. RCOG Press. ISBN 9781906985134
Unnithan, Maya (2008) Reproductive Rights, Health and Culture. United Nations Population Fund.
Unnithan, M, Castaldo, A and McNay, K (2008) Women's Migration, Urban Poverty and Child Health in Rajasthan. Sussex Migration Centre.
De Neve, Geert and Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2006) Critical Journeys: The Making of Anthropologists. Ashgate, p. 1. ISBN 0-7546-4809-5
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2005) Conception technologies, local healers and negotiations around childbearing in Rajasthan. In: Reproductive Agency, Medicine And The State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing. Fertility, reproduction, and sexuality (3). Berghahn, pp. 59-82. ISBN 9781845450441
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2005) Introduction: Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State. In: Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing. Fertility, reproduction, and sexuality (3). Berghahn, pp. 1-23. ISBN 9781845450441
Damodaran, Vinita and Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2004) Postcolonial India: History, Politics and Culture. Manohar.
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya, ed. (2004) Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing. Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality (3). Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845450441
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2003) Spirits of the womb: Migration, reproductive Choice and healing in Rajasthan. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 37 (1-2). pp. 163-188. ISSN 0069-9667
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2003) Reproduction, Health, Rights: Connections and Disconnections. In: Human Rights in Global Perspective: Anthropological Studies of Rights, Claims and Entitlements. A.S.A. monographs, 40 (40). ROUTLEDGE, London, UK, pp. 183-208. ISBN 9780415304108
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2002) Midwives among Others: Knowledges of Healing and the Politics of Emotions in Rajasthan, Northwest India. In: Daughters of Hariti: Childbirth and Female Healers in South and Southeast Asia. Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology and International Health, 7 . Routledge, London, UK, pp. 109-129. ISBN 0-415-27792-2
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2001) Emotion, Agency and Access to Healthcare: Women's Experiences of Reproduction in Jaipur. In: Managing Reproductive Life: Cross-Cultural Themes in Sexuality and Fertility. Fertility, Reproduction, and Sexuality, 1 . Berghahn Books, Oxford, pp. 27-51. ISBN 9781571815002
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2001) Quality of Maternal Healthcare and Development. In: The Arnold Companion to Development. Arnold, London, pp. 387-390. ISBN 9780340760505
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (2000) The State Rajput Identity and Women's Agency in 19th and 20th Century Rajasthan. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 7 (1). 49 - 70. ISSN 0971-5215
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (1999) Households Kinship and Access to Reproductive Healthcare among Rural Muslim Women in Jaipur. Economic and Political Weekly, 34 (10/11). 621 - 630. ISSN 0012-9976
Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (1997) Identity, Gender and Poverty: New Perspectives on Caste and Tribe in Rajasthan. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781571819185