BA (Asian Studies) (Hons), PhD, FASSA, FWAAS

Lenore Manderson is Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology in the School of Public Health, The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She joined Wits as a member of faculty in 2014; previously, from 2004-2013, she was an honorary professor and, in 2008, Hillel Friedland Senior Fellow at the university. She also holds appointment as Visiting Distinguished Professor, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.  In addition, she is an honorary professor at Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and adjunct professor in both the School of Social Sciences and the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University. She lives, with no great difficulty, in Prahran (Melbourne, Australia), Providence (Rhode Island, USA) and Rosebank (Johannesburg, South Africa). She has a husband, two adult children, and a cat.










From 2006-2013, she was Professor of Medical Anthropology in the School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, at Monash University, Australia. Prior to joining Monash, she was Professor of Tropical Health (University of Queensland, 1988-1998), then Professor of Women’s Health (University of Melbourne, 1999-2005). She was awarded an inaugural Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship in 2001, and took this up at Melbourne and Monash universities from 2002-2007.


She has trained to graduation over 140 higher degree students and mentored dozens of other trainees, research interns and colleagues in Australia and overseas. In recognition of this she was awarded the American Anthropological Association, Medical Anthropology Students’ Association Mentor Award in 2007, and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision at Monash University in 2013.  She was President of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS 2001-2003), chairperson of the Program Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Academy of Art and Science 2010-2011, and a member of the steering committee for a project of the Academy of Science of Australia on population, equity, climate change and sustainability. She was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stewardship on Research on Infectious Disease of Poverty (SAC-STE), WHO/TDR (Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases) (2008-2011) and the TDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) (2012-2015). From 2015-2016, she is a member of the TDR Scientific Working Group on Vectors, Environment and Society. She is also Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Group of SEACO (Southeast Asia Community Observatory), Monash University Malaysia, 2014-2015.


Lenore Manderson is internationally known for her work in anthropology, social history and public health. She has played a lead role in training and research in inequality, social exclusion and marginality, the social determinants of infectious and chronic disease, gender and sexuality, immigration, ethnicity and inequality, in Australia, Southeast and East Asia (including Malaysia, China, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan), South Africa and Ghana, and most recently in the Solomon Islands. Much of her work with Indigenous and immigrants Australians, and in infectious disease, is applied; this includes the development of guidelines for practice to enhance access to services and to provide cultural appropriate services.  At the University of the Witwatersrand, she is developing a program of work around medical interventions, technology, access and equity. At Brown University, her work includes a five-year program bringing together the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts in conversations on environmental change and sustainability. She also teaches in the IE Brown Executive MBA.


She is the author, editor or co-author of some 580 books, articles, book chapters and reports, including Sickness and the State (1996), Surface Tensions: Surgery, Bodily Boundaries and the Social Self (2011), Technologies of Sexuality, Identity and Sexual Health (ed., 2012), and Disclosure in Health and Illness (ed. with Mark Davis, 2014).  She is editor and author, with Anita Hardon and Elizabeth Cartwright, of the Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology (2016). In recognition of her contributions to research, she was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia in 1995 and Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science, in 2004. She has been editor of the international journal Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness since 2010.

Throughout my career, I have focused on novel interdisciplinary approaches to study health, illness and wellbeing, and to developing research capacity in these areas – working with people from diverse low and middle-income countries in Asia, Pacific and Africa, and with resource poor communities in Australia. I am dedicated to support supervising and mentoring young researchers as higher degree students and, through my roles in book and journal editing, in ensuring the dissemination of their work.  My current work builds on this: at the University of the Witwatersrand in exploring questions around around medical interventions, technology, access and equity, and at Brown University, in bringing together the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts in conversations on environmental change and sustainability.