As Anthony Rizks is soon stepping down as MAYS co-coordinator after being on the post for two years, it is time to elect the next MAYS coordinator!

This year, we have two candidates:
– Diana Antonia Jeflea,
– Chandini Shyam.

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 10 November 2021, midnight.

Diana Antonia Jeflea

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Department of Cultural Sciences

Short synopsis of your research interests and project

My main research interests are migration, risk situation communication, medical crises’ management, civic activism, and biopower and biopolitics. I have already undergone theses and researches in these fields, some of the most recent ones focusing on women’s seasonal migration during the COVID-19 pandemic, truck drivers as transnational migrants during the pandemic, and discourses in social media regarding the SARS-CoV-2 situation. Moreover, I am highly focused on the social aspect of this medical event that we are encountering in society itself and in smaller groups of people. Nevertheless, I seek to understand the impact states have in fighting against the spreading of the virus and their intrusion into people’s lives.

Experiences that speak to your eligibility for the role

First, I have coordination experience which recommends me for this position. I have done five years of volunteering in Romania, for Hospice of Hope, which provided me with various insides in many aspects of the administrative field, such as fundraising, events coordination or projects coordination and management. Secondly, I deeply think that being the group coordinator during my Master’s Degree let me understand better the modalities in which people with similar interests can be gathered together and engaged in meaningful debates.

What are your plans for MAYS?

I am willing to create a space in which members of the international academic community can break boundaries and find new and exciting aspects of other social and cultural spaces. I think that being a highly creative person could help to organize stimulating events for people who are seeking to create information. How? By making sure everyone fits in the puzzle and brings his own piece to it, making sure its growth never stops. Moreover, I cannot wait to be able to organize an offline event again, but always keeping in mind that there are people who would like to participate and cannot do so due to various reasons. Hence, implementing a long-term hybrid form of conferences would be one of my first actions.

Chandni Shyam

Utrecht University/ MSc(research) Cultural Anthropology: Sociocultural Transformations


I have a long standing interest in medical anthropology, especially in narratives that are essential but overlooked. I have worked extensively on gender and mental healthcare as a Reserach Associate at IIT Madras. During this time, I also worked briefly on the unequal attention paid to affective labour of mental healthcare nurses in Indian hospitals. Right now, I am working on a second masters for which I have been doing fieldwork on Covid-19 vaccinations in Chennai and the ways in which information about the state and vaccines work towards compliance. I truly believe that healthcare has to be universally available and culturally sensitive. Furthermore, my own lived experience as a cancer survivor has helped expand my scopes of what medical anthropology can do.


I have organised many events, both online and offline at numerous instances of my academic career. More importantly, I have always worked on creating and nurturing a community of learners. For example, I am a core team member of the Students for Cultural Anthropology Journal, which is a student initiative to foster peer review. My work with the journal stems from the belief that community is really important for thriving in academia. After all, whatever we write is on the back of many before us and for those with and after us. I also think that there is a lot of scope for collaborative and experimental learning in medical anthropology. My explorations in writing literary ethnography and quantitative ethnography have been fruitful in this regard but I really need a good community for learning and growing with.


I would like to increase the social media presence of MAYS through reading groups and field discussions. It would also be interesting to have coffee talks online and offline that can give open up space for learning about new ethnographic explorations in medical anthropology.


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