2018 MAYS Coordinator Election!

It’s time for Lilian Kennedy to step down and for a new MAYS coordinator to take her place! This year we have 4 fantastic candidates: Francesca Cancelliere, Inayat Ali, Leah Eades, and Katarzyna Król. Each of the candidates provided us with information about their interests, experience, and goals for MAYS.  Please read through the information they provided below and then please submit your vote for who you would like to be the next MAYS coordinator (a two-year term) and the person who will take the lead in planning the next MAYS Meeting. The election will close on Sunday, Oct 28th.  Thank you! Lilian and Ursula, your current MAYS coordinators


Francesca Cancelliere, University of Lisbon

Synopsis of research interests and project:

Dear MAYS members, My name is Francesca Cancelliere and I am currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-ULisbon). My research concerns HIV positive children and adolescents in Maputo (Mozambique), and looks at how the politics of adherence to antiretroviral therapy shape their life. I am also part of the Integra project ‘Between biomedicine and local therapies: cross-views on Mental Health in Mozambique’, jointly led by the University of Lisbon, the University of Turin and the University of Maputo.

Experience in preparation for the role

Since I became a MAYS member in 2016, I enjoyed the network’s richness and diversity. I do believe that sharing opinions and suggestions in a constructive and informal setting is one of the best opportunities young scholars have to improve their work. Moreover, I believe the opportunity of working in a network that involves different universities, to be extremely valuable in fostering young scholars’ engagement and collaboration, and this is particularly the case when the researchers come from different places and have experience in different kinds of fieldwork. I would like to foster the dialogue of medical anthropology with other disciplines and methodologies. For example, my previous experience as a psychologist working in a multidisciplinary team providing psychosocial support to refugees has boosted my interest in the ethno-psychiatric multidisciplinary approach. At this regard, I actively collaborated in the organization of conferences both in the University of Lisbon – ‘Resistance and Empire: new approaches and comparisons, International Conference’ – and in the University of Maputo – ‘Integra: Between biomedicine and local therapies: cross-views on Mental Health in Mozambique’.

Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of MAYS, what would be your plans to push the scope of MAYS further?

For the 10-year anniversary I will keep expanding MAYS’s network by especially focusing on supporting the participation of young scholars from Southern and Eastern Europe, since this has been weak in the pasts years. I also think that it would be important to open up our work beyond the academia and become more publicly engaged. Anthropology and social science in general tend to be underestimated and are deemed marginal disciplines. We need to show how, as researchers in social science, we can be active and engaged in the society. For this purpose, it will be extremely valuable for MAYS members to show the works presented at the 10th conference outside the University, by means of proposing informal meetings with the civil society. My proposal is for the next MAYS meeting, to be held for the first time in Turin, Italy, country which represent the brutality of EU migration politics. These politics as the “immigrant-targeted security decree” in Italy, must turn the attention of the academic world into an active position. This opens up a larger debate about how medical anthropology can keep contributing to the understanding of complex social and political issues as well as engaging in the field according to multiple practices and approaches.

Inayat Ali, University of Vienna

Synopsis of research interests and project:

  • Global Health;
  • Vaccination and Immunization;
  • Infectious diseases;
  • Bio-Geo politics;
  • Local methodologies

Experience in preparation for the role

  • The volunteer work during the EASA and ASA conferences that has added into the event management tasks and experiences;
  • Teaching and research assistant that provided me a chance to coordinate with the respective students;
  • Programme Officer, where one of the tasks was to coordinate with the applicants and arrange meetings/training/events for them.

Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of MAYS, what would be your plans to push the scope of MAYS further?

  • To arrange a workshop/event, where the young and old generation of medical anthropologists would share, learn and propose future endeavors. In order to organize, the platform of the Wenner-Gren foundation can prove as an effective source of meeting the funds/expenditures;
  • To increase the net of coordination with other regional medical networks like South Asian;
  • To begin a new initiative of creating a support group, where young generation would interact with each other and share/exchange the drafts of their work in order to receive a prompt, friendly and constructive comments and criticism;
  • Any other initiative after discussing with the fellow colleagues.

Leah Eades, University of Edinburgh

Synopsis of research interests and project:

Research interests: applied medical anthropology; abortion; reproductive health and politics; pregnancy and the fetus. Research project: A growing number of British and Irish women are using abortion pills (i.e. mifepristone and misoprostol) to end their pregnancies. These pills can be obtained through official and unofficial channels. Differing legal contexts in the region have resulted in differing (although highly interconnected) distribution and consumption practices. Abortion pills can be accessed legally in some parts of the region but not others, and there is evidence that women across all settings are buying abortion pills online to illegally self-induce abortion. My ethnographic multi-site study utilises a biographical approach to track the social life of abortion pills in Britain and Ireland. My objectives are to: 1) produce in-depth qualitative data regarding British and Irish stakeholders’ understandings of, and engagements with, abortion pills obtained through official and unofficial channels; and 2) plot the social and political effects of these pills are they move between and within these differing settings. By conducting research in this rapidly growing and, as yet, relatively under-studied area, I aim to produce findings that inform future healthcare policy, law reform, and reproductive justice discussions.

Experience in preparation for the role

I believe I am suitable for this role for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have first-hand knowledge of the benefits that MAYS membership can provide to young scholars. By attending the 2017 MAYS annual meeting as a master’s student, I was able to connect with other medical anthropologists, present one of my first papers, and get to know a new faculty – in fact, I’m now doing my PhD at Edinburgh University partly because of that event! All this means I’m eager to play a part in continuing to grow this community. Secondly, I have a lot of experience organising events and building communities. For the past two years, I was a Contributing Editor for Cultural Anthropology journal working on their social media team. During my master’s, I was an RAI Ethnographic Film Festival Ambassador, which involved co-organising two film screenings, and a Resident Assistant in a university hall of residence, which involved organising regular socials and events. In my personal life, I’ve also helped to organise and promote a regular storytelling night. I’m confident I could use these skills to help manage the MAYS annual meeting and online community.

Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of MAYS, what would be your plans to push the scope of MAYS further?

I think MAYS could build its membership and connect with the wider medical anthropology community by building its online presence, especially given how large our Facebook group is. For example, we could interview members about their research for blogs/podcasts that we feature on the website and promote on social media. We could also launch a quarterly newsletter, and look into guest posting on related platforms such as Somatosphere, Nursing Clio, Anthrodendum, etc. All of this could help raise awareness of MAYS, which would be especially helpful ahead of the annual meeting. Obviously, we should also aim to make the 10th MAYS annual meeting the biggest and best yet! I also think MAYS could do more to reach out to underrepresented/non-traditional med anth ECRs – for example, student parents and carers, part-time students, disabled researchers, LGBTQ+ researchers, etc. Perhaps we could reach out to members, either online or during the meeting, about whether there is a need for this and, if so, what form our support/advocacy could take. As a voice for early-career medical anthropologists in Europe, I think this could be a really exciting and important avenue to pursue.

Katarzyna Król, Polish Academy of Sciences

Synopsis of research interests and project:

My project focuses on sociocultural aspects of rare metabolic disorders, in particular, fatty acid oxidation disorders (FAODs, e.g. LCHAD deficiency, MCAD deficiency, and VLCAD deficiency) and organic acid disorders (OADs, especially Glutaric acidemia type 1 or “GA-1”) in Poland. Through ethnographic research methods project is exploring knowledge construction and global&local politics of treating rare metabolic disorders. Connecting STS approaches with medical anthropology, I am interested in the networks of care that make treatment possible, and how pharmaceutical markets, viral actors, and therapeutic cultures attend to and shape biomedical cultures around those diseases. I also intend to look at how particular knowledge(s) are being created, questioned and sustained in daily sociomaterial practices, with emphasis on medical practices. Thereby, project aims at contributing to theorising medicine’s ontological politics (Mol 2002: viii). Rather than describing rare metabolic disorders as static diseases I am trying to describe them as complicated assemblages of bodies, health care systems, technologies, fears, beliefs etc. fitted together, which are constructed, managed and re-created by both affected patients and medical practitioners. Research interests: medical anthropology, methodology, STS studies, gender, food studies

Experience in preparation for the role

First of all, I am really motivated to become the next MAYS Coordinator. Thanks to my experiences obtained during international scholarships and field research I have understood the importance and experienced the merits of networking between young scholars. I consider it not merely as one of the prerequisites of contemporary academic life, but rather as an empowering platform. That is why I would love to help with keeping MAYS as useful and exciting platform of academic cooperation as possible. I can offer not only my enthusiasm, but also some hard skills and experience. Even as a student, I was always an active member of the scientific community and was well known for fulfilling my commitments. I am experienced in organising academic conferences, on both international and local level, which considering 10th anniversary of MAYS, will be really helpful. Also, I am a member of Ethnographic Films Review Eyes and Lenses team, where I am responsible for the call for contributions, communication with the film directors and distributors, and evaluation process. It thought me how to plan in advance all the tasks and cooperate with other team members (most of the time remotely, which is also relevant).

Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of MAYS, what would be your plans to push the scope of MAYS further?

I have few ideas, which in my opinion deserve some attention. First of all, the 10 year anniversary of MAYS is a great moment to celebrate (obviously), but also think about new ways of making the network even better. I would start with remodelling conference structure. Since usually there is not enough time and space to really discuss projects and ideas, I would suggest to replace the traditional sessions followed by quick Q&As, by more workshop and actually discussion oriented meeting. I also advise that such an event should have more organised ways of enabling fruitful networking, which will also make it more inclusive for the new members (like me). Moreover, I would consider creating smaller „working groups” focused on specific issues within medical anthropology. Last but not least, I think that making sure that website is regularly updated and working bit more with social media would be a good idea. I believe that we could use Facebook, just to name one, not only as a notice board, but more like a co-working tool.

Thank you for voting!


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