Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health

Centre events

Autumn 2023 Events Programme

CORTH Autumn Event Programme 

CORTH Autumn '23 Programme


The Period Experience for Every Body

24 November 2023, 12:30 until 13:30, Meeting House

Following their popular session for International Women's Day earlier this year, BSMS and LifeScience colleagues have organised another discussion event on the topic of menstrual health with Dr. Chi Eziefula, Senior Lecturer at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and co-Director of CORTH, and guest speaker Jane Dancey, Somatic Health Practitioner and Educator.

The Period Experience for Every Body : Staff Hub : University of Sussex


CORTH Conversations:  'Precarity of Hope, Uncertainty and Risk: unsettling expert and experiential knowledge of novel treatments for genetic disorders'

11 December 2023, 1 - 2.30pm GMT

This is a Hybrid event. Attendees can come in-person to Bramber Hourse room 235 or join online at https://universityofsussex.zoom.us/j/3885139671?pwd=ajUyeEpRYmkrNDhGRk12OWtvenM0Zz09  (Passcode 887084)

CORTH Conversations - Precarity of hope, uncertainty and risk Poster


  Dr. Chattoo's seminar is based on her paper that looks at the use of ‘novel’ therapies, a combination of thalidomide and hydroxyurea, in treating a potentially life- threatening genetic disorder (thalassemia). Rather than assume that medical knowledge constitutes (of) immutable stable diagnostic/ clinical categories or terms, a lack of consensus within medical/ scientific fraternity on the use of treatment regimens brings home the significance of local practices through which ‘evidence’ is framed to legitimise ‘improvisation’. In focusing on the social milieu within which the materiality of the disease is located, the notions of risk and evidence are foregrounded as processual and shifting in time. Drawing on ethnographic data on how parents of children with thalassemia in parts of rural India negotiate prognostic uncertainty and precarity of caring, knowledge and ignorance production appear as ‘intricately entangled’. The paper concludes with an ethnographer’s dilemma about how to write about what might seem, from the outside, ethically contentious though innovative practices, serving the economic interests of the clinicians and pharmaceutical firms. Yet, from inside, the narratives of parents and patients struggling to access basic care in the state system, persuade us to understand their quest for novel treatments (hope), ilaj (both treatment and cure), as part of a wider pragmatic ethic of care.

  Dr. Sangeeta Chattoo is a Senior Research Fellow, in the department of Sociology, at the University of York. She started her ethnographic journey, dating back to her doctoral research on the borderland between medicine and culture in Kashmir (India) in 1985. After completing my doctorate from the University of Delhi in 1990, she taught at the University of Western Australia for two years, took a career- break for five years before joining the University of Leeds and finally migrating to York in 2006. Her research and scholarship have meandered around intersecting lines of medical knowledge and practice; inequalities and health, race, ethnicity, citizenship and governance; chronic illness, gender and caring. Sangeeta has worked extensively on health and citizenship issues of minoritised ethnic communities in the UK. For the past decade, however, she has been fascinated by the history, ontology and governance of sickle cell and thalassemia within a global context and the local engagements with emerging forms of medical practice and claims to citizenship and state. Sangeeta is on the editorial board of the medical sociology section of Frontiers and is currently co-editing a special issue (with Veena Das, Conceptualising technology in reframing the boundaries between the normal and the pathological; and a forthcoming, Handbook on Racism, Ethnicity and Health (with Hannah Bradby, Edward Elgar Press). Two of her recent articles are in Anthropology and Medicine and policy and Politics (profile at https://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/our-staff/academic/sangeeta-chattoo/)


CORTH Conversations: 'Empowering communities through University partnerships in public health: a pilot project in Nepal and the Philippines'

Event Poster

  In many parts of the world, communities have had little voice in national public health initiatives. Health providers often take a top-down approach, ‘preaching’ to families about how they should live more healthy lives and ignoring their everyday realities. This seminar introduces an MRC-funded project based in CORTH which is piloting a new approach to university and community partnership in public health.
  Our interdisciplinary team from education and public health is setting out to explore how universities can contribute directly to transforming attitudes towards marginalised communities. Bringing together two institutes of medicine - at Tribhuvan University in Nepal and the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines - the project draws on participatory and ethnographic methods to share beliefs and co-construct knowledge around food and nutrition.
 This seminar will provide an opportunity to find out more about the project and to engage with members of the research team from Sussex University, Tribhuvan University and the University of Santo Tomas.


  Anna is a Research Professor in the Global Studies School at Sussex. Laura is the project’s Research Assistant, a Lecturer in Global Public Health and a Researcher in decolonising health education at Sussex. Kamal is a Lecturer at the Research Center for Educational Innovation & Development (CERID) Tribhuvan University, Nepal and Teresa is a Professor with the University of Santo Tomas, the Philippines. Both Kamal and Teresa will be participating online.

Read all about the project and talk at -

Empowering communities through University partnerships in public health: a pilot project in Nepal and the Philippine [PDF 1.86MB]


'Parental Mental Health Network Conference'  -  An inaugural two-day Conference, bringing together academics, policy makers, clinicians, charities and people with lived experience. See the pdf. for full details of the Coference - Parental Mental Health Conference Itinerary [PDF 547.52KB]

Event Poster


CORTH Conversations: 'Human Rights in the Global Menstrual Movement'

Inga Winkler Poster

  Menstruation matters for the realization of human rights. Menstrual stigma has profound effects on the rights to health, education, work, participation in public life, among others. As menstruation is gaining increasing attention, the language of human rights looms large in the expanding discourse on menstruation. This framing and the promises, pitfalls, and the renewed potential of human rights have yet to be explored: Why do movements adopt this framing? What is their understanding of human rights?
  Many global organizations adopt a reductionist understanding of human rights. They use the frame of dignity, but present it in a narrow sense of ensuring privacy and cleanliness, eschewing a more fundamental understanding of dignity as agency and autonomy. They address the socio-cultural dimension of menstruation, but only present culture as restriction and barrier to the realization of human rights, which seems to be driven by Western liberalist understandings. They instrumentalize human rights to advance narrow, technical fixes in the form of menstrual products and hygiene interventions. As a result, these framings risk leaving menstrual stigma and its role in perpetuating gender injustices unaddressed.
  However, the menstrual movement is not monolithic, and initial findings also point to the social construction of human rights from below. Many grassroots movements see the emancipatory promise of human rights and build on a holistic understanding to advance menstrual justice. The project is situated in the context of critiques of the human rights ‘enterprise’ and a feminist re-envisioning of human rights to address gender injustices. Against this background, the project explores how to avoid shortchanging human rights and to discuss their renewed potential for the menstrual movement.
  Dr. Inga Winkler is an Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the Central European University, Vienna


View our past events here