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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Research Staff

Dr Rebecca Oxley

Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology

(email at

I am interested in exploring the meaning and experience of health and illness in particular contexts, through the question of what comprises bodies, embodiment, and patterns of phenomena. I am intrigued by the puzzle of dualisms, including nature/culture and mind/body, and by what empirical and theoretical explorations of biology can tell us of being-in-the-world.

I completed a BA(hons) and MA(Research) from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, where my MA thesis researched the shared lived experiences of those living with postnatal depression and their caregivers. When the notion that fathers might also experience postnatal depression began to emerge in public health discourse, I took up a PhD at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia to explore the lived embodiment of fathers with postnatal depression. Moving to the UK, I worked at the Department of Health, becoming interested in collaborative research and the importance of patient voice in health and social care service design.

I joined Durham University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow as part of the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Life of Breath’ project based in the Centre for Medical Humanities. My research will focus on ‘aware breathers’ and breathing techniques to contribute to a phenomenology of breath, breathing and breathlessness.

Research Interests

  • Anthropology of Health
  • Embodiment theory
  • Feminist explorations of the body/biology
  • New Materialism
  • New technologies
  • Phenomenology
  • Posthumanism

Selected Publications

Journal Article

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