Lenore Manderson | lenoremanderson.com
home,page,page-id-8,page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,edgt-core-1.1,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vigor-ver-1.10, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,side_menu_slide_with_content,width_270,paspartu_enabled,paspartu_on_bottom_fixed,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12.1,vc_responsive

Philosophy and Practice

I was trained in Asian Studies, with my early field research in Peninsular Malaysia. Over the past four decades, I have worked as a medical anthropologist and social historian of medicine on questions of public health among diverse populations in Australia, east and southeast Asia, and increasingly in Africa. My fields of research include questions of gender, sexuality and reproductive health; infectious and chronic disease; access to and ideologies of medical and health care; and disability and inequality. My sustained commitment to build research capacity includes my life long work with higher degree students in and from resource-poor settings, my involvement in CARTA (Collaboration for Advanced Research and Training in Africa), and from 1988 to the present, my continuous collaboration with the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease. My broad interests extend to interdisciplinary collaborations in the social and biosciences, humanities and creative arts, for social justice, human rights, and sustainability.

My key works include, in medical anthropology, Surface Tensions: Surgery, Bodily Boundaries and the Social Self; and in social history, Sickness and the State: Health and Illness in Colonial Malaya, 1870-1940. My latest work – The Routledge Handbook in Medical Anthropology – undertaken with Elizabeth Cartwright (Idaho State University) and Anita Hardon (University of Amsterdam) – was published in May 2016.

Current Institutions



Six months each year Lenore Manderson lives and works in South Africa as the Distinguished Professor of Public Health & Medical Anthropology, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand.



About one quarter annually Lenore Manderson lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) as the Visiting Distinguished Professor, Institute at Brown for Environment & Society (IBES) and as the Visiting Professor of Anthropology, at Brown University.


Medical Anthropology

Since 2010 Lenore Manderson has been the Editor of ‘Medical Anthropology: Cross-cultural Studies in Health and Illness’, the leading international publication in its field.

Surface Tensions (2011)

“Lenore Manderson’s Surface Tensions is a must for any social scientist interested in  body, medicine, disability, gender, and processes of social construction of various embodied phenomena.” – Qualitative Sociology Review