School of Global Studies

Biography

I am a lecturer in Anthropology and International Development in the School of Global Studies at the Universoty of Sussex. My research has predominantly focused on sexual and gendered subjectivities, seeking to relate theory to practice. Doctoral research at the London School of Economics (ESRC funded) took place in West Bengal, India, and explored same-sex sexualities and transgender experience in respect of social change and modernity, and as contrasted to the represeentation of sexuality in HIV prevention discourse and practice. This work also critically explored conceptual absences in anthropological approaches to sexualities (in India) and considered the heteronormative implications of such absences.

My research in India took shape out of prior work within community-based sexual health projects and activism in West Bengal, and close connections to community-based interventions remain central to much of my research. This has been informed by my MA in Applied Anthropology and Community and Youth Work from Goldsmith College, University of London. In particular, in all of my work, I aim to develop practical and analytical connections between ethnographic practice, community work, queer theory, and anthropological conceptualizations of gender, sexualities, health, socio-economic change and continuity. In this way my work seeks to span theoretical perspectives on sexual subjectivity, applying these perspectives to ethnographically located understandings of same-sex desire and affect.

From 2005-2006 I was an ESRC funded post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London and between 2007-2011 I was the recipient of an ESRC post-doctoral award that funded further research on same-sex and transexualities in West Bengal - entitled 'Between Subjectivity and Practice.'. This work focused on the emergence of discourses of sexual individualism in regional towns and the ambivalence about such discourses in respect of people's mixed responses to 'modernity.' The project was especially concerned with 'non-subjective' aspects of day-to-day experience of sexual subjectivity, and was also set against political agitation in the Darjeeling Hills area of West Bengal (exploring parallels between ethnic and sexual politics in this context). This research also had a strong visual component, working with people in the region as co-researchers in a project that explored sexual subjectivty through the use of photography.

I am one of the co-conveners of the European Network for Queer Anthropology (ENQA) , a network affiliated to the Euroepan Association for Social Anthropologists (EASA). ENQAs innaugrual meeting took place at the EASA conference in Estonia, in summer 2014 and we have a number of publication projects underway.

I am the co-conver of two MAs at Sussex - the MA in Sexual Dissience (convened with the school of English) and the MA Media Practice for Development and Social Change (convened with the school of Media, Film and Music). I teach modules on the Anthropology of Sexuality, and Sexuality and Development. I currently supervise PhD students working on same-sex sexualities and transgender in Cuba and South Africa, and the experiences of Iranian migrants in the UK. Completed doctoral students worked on the experiences of men living with HIV in Portugal and contemporary sexualities in Mumbai, India.

Aside from academic anthropological work I also work as a consultant in sexualities, gender, sexual rights and health internationally. Recent work includes acting as co-research leader on a 14 site, community-based study of male-to-male sexualities in India, funded by DFID and resulting in three 'briefing papers' for the Indian National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), all of which informed NACO's 5 year plan for HIV prevention. I consult for UNDP on issues relating to sex work, male-to-male sexualities, drug use and HIV prevention in S.E. Africa (with recent work in Kenya and Mauritius). I also act as a research manager for the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) and am currently working with ASWA and UNFPA on a research project that involves exploring and developing support for young people who sell sex in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and Mozambique.

I was also recently co-researcher on an evaluation of 'key populations' interventions in the Caribbean, for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Between 2007-2010 I was a member of the external evaluation team for the Ford Foundations 'Global Dialogue on Sexual Health and Wellbeing.' During this period I also worked as a writing support and publication mentor for new researchers in Vietnam seeking to publish work on gender and sexuality in international journals (co-editing two special editions of Culture, Health and Sexuality). I was also a member of the international curriculum development team for a Ford Foundation funded programme in international sexuality studies and research (managed by LaTrobe University, Melbourne). Additionally I have conducted a range of consultancies on sexuality and community-based HIV prevention in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Turkmenistan.

Overall my work takes place at the interface of anthropological research and theorizing on sexual and gendered subjectivities and critically applied work in policy and programme development internationally. Conceptual and practical engagement across these fields of practice, and in collaboration with others, brings momentum to my research, its influences and applications. 

 

 

 

Role

I am a lecturer in Anthropology and International Development