Dr Deborah Nadal
- Marie Curie Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine)
I am a cultural and medical anthropologist specialised in South Asia and health at the human-animal interface. I joined the University of Glasgow as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in September 2018. From September 2018 to September 2020, I worked at the Center for One Health Research of the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, as a visiting scholar. I hold a BA (honours) in South Asian Studies and a MA (honours) in Cultural Anthropology from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Verona. Since 2012, I have conducted various field studies in India, from the forests of Odisha and Jharkhand where I observed the impact of resettlement schemes on the hunting and gathering Birhors, to the streets of Delhi and the countryside of Gujarat and Maharashtra where I have been exploring the social, cultural, and religious world of rabies in a more-than-human perspective. I am committed to bringing more anthropology into global rabies research.
Rabies in urban India
Grounded in multispecies ethnography, my Ph.D. research investigated the intimate, sometimes violent, interaction between dogs, cows, macaques, and human animals in the streets and slums of the Indian capital. By exploring the intricate web of factors that bring humans and animals into contact with one another in the urban public space and create favourable pathways for rabies transmission, this work shows how rabies is endemic in India for reasons that are much more than simply biological. Following further independent fieldwork and the reception of the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, my Ph.D. research resulted in the book “Rabies in the Streets. Interspecies Camaraderie in Urban India” (2020, Penn State University Press).
Visual excerpts and more information here
Rabies in rural India
Having secured a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Global Fellowship from the European Commission, I am currently carrying out a 3-year postdoctoral project under the guidance of Prof Sarah Cleaveland, Prof Katie Hampson and Dr Tiziana Lembo.
Drawing from medical anthropology, field epidemiology, and Indology, this project applies ethnographic methods and contact tracing to the exploration of rabies transmission dynamics in Western rural India (central Gujarat and southern Maharashtra). Also, I look into alternative explanations of canine and human rabies etiology and treatment based on a God-mediated human-dog relationship, and local conceptualisations and perspectives on what international rabies control scholars and stakeholders call One Health. I collaborate with Prof Peter Rabinowitz at the Center for One Health Research at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and Dr Abi Tamim Vanak at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore, India.
More information can be found at the European Commission Cordis site.
Grants and Fellowships
- Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Foundation, 2016
- Marie Sklodowska Curie Global Individual Fellowship, European Commission, 2018-2021
- Conference and workshop Grant, Wenner-Gren Foundation, 2020
My main areas of interest are health and illness and the human-animal relation, but I mostly enjoy working at their intersection. My current interests include:
- local conceptions of zoonoses, anthroponoses, and disease reservoirs
- One Health and more-than-human public health
- infectious diseases in the Anthropocene
- discrimination and inequality in cross-species health
- animal feeding
- veterinary anthropology
- zooerasty (sexual activity between a person and an animal)
- anthropology of South Asia
Methodologically, I am interested in:
- doing ethnography with non-human animals (e.g. multispecies ethnography)
- rapid qualitative research
- anthropology in interdisciplinary research