Meet the researchers

Making Clinical Sense is a comparative, collaborative ethnographic project, which brings together insights from anthropology, history and science and technology studies. Our team members have come from across these fields and many parts of the world to work together.

About Andrea Wojcik

I am a PhD candidate at Maastricht University working on the Making Clinical Sense project. At the university, I am part of the Department of Society Studies as well as the Maastricht University Science, Technology & Society Studies (MUSTS) research group. I have conducted ethnographic research at the University for Development Studies’ medical school in Tamale, Ghana with a focus on how medical students learn to touch and feel as part of their physical examination of patients.

My supervisors are Professor Harro van Lente and Assistant Professor Anna Harris.

More about Andrea

Fieldwork for the Making Clinical Sense project: Tamale, Ghana

About Anna Harris

I pursue an approach to the social study of medicine that is grounded in ethnographic studies of contemporary medical practices, my clinical experience working in hospitals, and collaborations with historians, doctors, artists, museum specialists and craftspeople. My research spans the fields of anthropology, science and technology studies, medical education and medical humanities and health sociology. My empirical cases focus on the anthropology and history of technological medical practices, especially concerning questions of sensorality, embodiment and learning. I also write about hospital infrastructures (see my blog www.pneumaticpost.blogspot.com and my twitterfeed @pneumaticpost). I have held research posts at Maastricht University, University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne, and been a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam, McGill University, RMIT (Melbourne), Brocher Foundation and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. I am currently a member of the Global Young Academy, and the Maastricht Young Academy.

Maastricht fieldwork

For the Making Clinical Sense project I will be returning to the SkillsLab in Maastricht, where I have previously undertaken ethnographic research for the Sonic Skills project , based at Maastricht University.

More about Anna

On a personal note …

I grew up on the island of Tasmania, spending the mild summers on quilts under apricot trees with stacks of library books. In school I was fascinated by two things in particular: the body and the “world out there”, beyond the island shores. So I studied medicine, dissected bodies, laboured over anatomical drawings for my bedroom walls and learned chemical equations off by heart. In my spare time I kept reading and making things, pulling apart clothes and putting them back together again, knitting, sewing, beading. When I graduated I worked as a doctor in rural Tasmania, then rural England, then the Australian border town of Tweed Heads. All the while I travelled as much as I could. There was a pandemic during one trip (SARS) and I became fascinated by questions of public health and cultural differences in medicine. I eventually applied to study medical anthropology back in Australia for a Masters degree, then after much thought, more travelling, returned for a PhD. I still love reading novels from the library and making things with my hands, including more recently cooking, becoming somewhat obsessed by cookbooks, lugging around a growing collection from place to place. I am fascinated with craftsmanship, whether related to medical practice, making objects or cooking food, thinking about how things are put together, tinkered with, how people are instructed and learn skilled practices, the sensory knowledge involved, and how this tells us something about bodies – what bodies can do, how they change and how they work with tools and technologies.

About Carla Greubel

Carla Greubel is the research assistant of the Making Clinical Sense Project

About Harro van Lente

To add

About John Nott

I am MCS’s in-house historian. My role in the project is to look beyond the boundaries of the teaching hospital and to contextualise the technologies which are found there. To this end, I will be conducting oral histories with doctors, patients and medical administrators in the Netherlands, Ghana and Hungary. Oral histories will be bolstered by archival research and analyses of historical technologies in hospital archives and medical museums.

My background is in the medical and economic history of modern Africa, but I have supplementary interests in medical anthropology, STS, demography and epidemiology. I hope that the extra-European orientation of my previous work – which concerned the history of nutrition and nutritional medicine in Ghana and Uganda – will allow for a relatively novel perspective on the history of medical education in Europe as well as in Tamale.

At Maastricht I am a member of the Department of Technology & Society Studies (TSS) and the Maastricht University Science, Technology & Society Studies (MUSTS) research group.

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I grew up on the edge of London’s commuter belt, where I spent most of my time in what green spaces remain. Childhood daydreams were fostered by maps and history books, and I am extremely privileged to still be daydreaming about such things.

I was trained in the School of History at the University of Leeds, where I fell in love with Yorkshire and its Dales. A decade in the north of England was punctuated by long periods abroad, for travel, training and research.

I have held fellowships at Leeds, as well as at Pennsylvania State University and as a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. I have received funding from, amongst others, the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, the Past & Present Society and the Society for the Social History of Medicine. In 2014 I was a recipient of the Royal Historical Society’s Martin Lynn Scholarship for the study of African history.

Away from books, I enjoy breaking and fixing bicycles, and riding bicycles when they’re not broken.

About Rachel Allison

Drawing on the rich history of medical education ethnography and working at the intersections of anthropology and science and technology studies (STS), I situate myself as an anthropologist working within the social study of medicine—an arena which lends itself to the delicate and fruitful grafting together of multiple academic disciplines in the pursuit of an encompassing knowledge related to the entanglement of human bodies, medical practices and technologies, and the socio-cultural meshwork in which they exist.

 

I am currently pursuing a PhD (promoted by Professor Dr Sally Wyatt) as part of the Making Clinical Sense project, located in the Department of Society Studies (DSS) at Maastricht University. Here, I am a member of the Maastricht University Science, Technology & Society Studies (MUSTS) research group. I am also a member of the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture (WTMC) and have recently completed their graduate training programme.

 

My PhD project draws on material collected through to course of ethnographic fieldwork conducted during the 2017/2018 academic year alongside medical students and educators within The Department of Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology, at Semmelweis University, in Budapest, Hungary. Broadly speaking, my research explores themes of skill, embodiment, multisensoriality, and knowledge translation, in relation to novice physician anatomy training. I am currently in the process of writing a monograph—Orienting in the Body (see below for details)—based on this research, which I will submit at the end of 2020.

More about Rachel

Having grown up on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, I received a Bachelor of International and Global Studies (anthropology) from The University of Sydney. Following this, I relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark where I obtained my Master of Science (research) in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen. Here, my MSc. fieldwork and thesis (completed under the supervision of Professor Dr Susan Reynolds Whyte) explored the contemporary temporal and experiential configurations of impaired fecundity in the United States, in light of the development, uptake, and proliferation of assisted reproductive technologies.

 

Beyond the scope of this project, my wider research interests include reproduction and reproductive technology, temporality, chronicity and acuteness, medicalisation, human-animal studies, gender studies, and feminist theory.

 

Outside of this work, I currently enjoy weekly trips to the cinema, tending to my array of  houseplants, and experimenting with my own anatomical drawings and lino prints, both of which I hope to integrate into my dissertation in some way.

PhD research project

‘Orienting in the body: An anthropological exploration of the embodied and multisensory dimensions of anatomy training at Semmelweis University’

 

My research project explores the practices and materials related to the contemporary anatomy training of novice physicians. Here, I am interested in the translation of knowledge and, specifically, the multisensory and embodied nature of anatomical knowledge and orientation—that is, anatomical knowledge is not solely ‘cognitive’ or ‘transferable’, but is rather a bodily, and embodied, skill.

 

Questions, which I am currently exploring, include:

  • How do novice physicians learn the skills of human anatomy?
  • How is knowledge translated between persons (students and educators)?
  • How are different technologies—bodies, models, drawings, and simulation, for instance—(and constellations, thereof) implicated in the learning of embodied and sensory anatomical skills?
  • How do novice physicians ‘orient’ in the human body and bodies?
More about Rachel’s research

This project relies on literature drawn from anthropology, STS, and philosophy. The primary theoretical concepts on which my methodological, theoretical, and analytical frameworks rely are embodiment (Csordas), situatedness (Haraway), multisensoriality (Pink, Howes, Classen, Marks), and place (Casey). Within this framework I am able to enquire into the enskillment of my interlocutors (novice physicians)—their embodied and multisensory learning of anatomy—viewing the human body and bodies, as a ‘situated’ form of ‘place’.

 

Analytically, my thesis operates using the concepts, ‘the anatomical human body’­ (which encompasses both ‘the body’ and multiple ‘bodies’) and ‘anatomical orientation’ (the way in which students learn and situate themselves within, and embody, ‘the anatomical human body’). Here, I explore the way in which the translation of anatomical knowledge is more than the ‘teaching’ or ‘learning’ (and, accordingly, the cognitive memorisation) of the multitude of facets of human anatomy. Instead, I illustrate the way in which students come to know the anatomical body, via an embodied understanding of human anatomy, and a skilled orientation within the human body, and that it is this knowledge which is translated between educator and novice.

 

Empirically, my thesis relies on ethnographic material collected over the course of an academic year at Semmelweis University’s Department of Anatomy, Embryology, and Histology, in Budapest, Hungry. During my fieldwork I attended lectures, practical dissection classes, digital histology lessons, examinations, clinical rounds, Hungarian classes, and, where relevant, social activities, with my interlocutors—ensuring throughout that learning alongside (Ingold) remained the primary tenet of my methodology.

About Sally Wyatt

Dr Sally Wyatt is Professor of ‘digital cultures’, Maastricht University. She holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies from Maastricht University (1998), but originally studied economics in Canada and England. Her current research interests include digital media in the production of knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences, and the ways in which people incorporate the internet into their practices for finding health information.