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Dr Branwyn Poleykett

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am a Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. Rooted in long term ethnographic engagement in Dakar, Senegal, my research is highly interdisciplinary and I draw on medical anthropology, social epidemiology, medical history, political ecology and cultural studies of science to understand struggles for good health in West Africa. 

My current research examines everyday eating in Dakar in the context of the emergence of diet related Non Communicable Diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. I examine how local people explain the emergence of "new diseases" and the impact of these diseases on urban households characterised by high levels of competition for biomedical and nutritional resources. 

With Karen Jent at the University of Cambridge I collaborate on Biocircularities, an interdisciplinary project on temporalities of the lifecourse. I co-edit the Think Pieces section of the open access journal Medicine Anthropology Theory


Research interests

Global health, food, nutrition, chronic disease, capacity 


 My PhD (LSE, 2012) examined the social, medical and legal regulation of female commercial sex work in Dakar. During my PhD fieldwork I studied the recruitment of sex workers registered with the state to medical research projects. I had the opportunity to further develop research on ethical conduct in transnational global health research as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Anthropologies of African Biosciences (AAB) research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Cambridge where I conducted research on exchanges and circulations of scientific research capacity between Denmark and East Africa. 

From May 2014-April 2018 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge working on the ERC-funded Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic project. The primary outcome of my research in this post is a book manuscript on visual health communication in Senegal from 1950 to the present day. 

In 2018 I spent eight months as a Writing Fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre at LMU in Munich developing my current project 'Consumption in Crisis: Eating, Hunger and the Emergence of 'New Diseases' in Dakar'. 

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