I am a researcher in ethnology at the Department of Culture and Media Studies, where I am currently leading the research project "Contagion and Culture: The 2005-2007 chikungunya epidemic in the western Indian Ocean" (2016-2019). The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council.
I hold a Cand.Polit degree in social anthropology and a PhD from the University of Bergen, Norway. My doctoral dissertation from 2013 is entitled "Otherness and Disease: The Politicisation of the 2005-2007 Chikungunya Epidemic in the Western Indian Ocean". My main research interests are within the field of medical anthropology, and relate to topics found at the interface between health and politics, e.g. the politicisation of epidemics and its and its influence on local experiences with, and conceptualisations of, disease and contagion. In my current study which draws on a total of about one year of ethnographic fieldwork in the islands of Mauritius, Réunion and Mayotte, the objective is to generate knowledge on the vector-borne disease of chikungunya as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), but also a current global health threat. The aim is to try to limit the severity of a possible re-emergence of chikungunya or other vector-borne diseases in the region through adapting a culture-sensitive and bottom-up approach to local understandings of disease transmission-and prevention in collaboration with local stakeholders.
I have done wide-ranged and long-term fieldwork in several islands in the western Indian Ocean. In addition to this study I am e.g. also affiliated to the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen where I am engaged in the research project SAFEZT on unsafe abortion in Madagascar. All fieldwork in this study has been conducted on a voluntary basis and during my own holidays. I have also worked on the swine flu pandemic in Norway as a postdoctoral researcher in the research project "Epidemics, Vaccination, and the Power of Narratives" at Umeå University. I give regular guest lectures in medical anthropology at various universities, and have also given invited presentations on chikungunya based on findings from my PhD study at the World Health Organisation (2015), and the American Anthropological Association's Annual Meeting (2016).Close