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Department of Anthropology

Research Staff

Dr Papreen Nahar, Ph.D.

Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

(email at


I am a medcal anthropologist with varied health and wellbeing research experience in relation to inequality and marginalisesd populations in the context of global health. This includes gender and health, health among migrant populations and populations with reproductive impairments (infertility), as well as technology and health. Building from my previous resarch experience, I have recently started working in the area of primary healthcare in UK.

I have obtained my Ph.D. degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. My Ph.D. research is on the ethnography of childlessness / infertility in Bangladesh, which is the first of its kind in the South Asian region. I have also conducted research on women's reproductive health in the Netherlands and Bangladesh, as well as on climatic disasters in Bangladesh.

I have contributed as a researcher at ICDDRB between 1994-2007. After this I worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Dhaka University, and afterwards in the School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Independent University Bangladesh.

Current Position

Dr. Nahar is a Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, Durham University, UK, and a Research Fellow at School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester.

Involvement In Recent Studies

  • Do they match? Young people’s realities and needs relating to sexuality and youth-friendly service provision in Bangladesh, Rutgers WPF, The Netherlands and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), UK.
  • Women’s Health in the 18th and 19th Centuries in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka.
  • The Meaning of Health Security for Disaster Resilience in Bangladesh: A Health Security Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. ICDDR,B and Northumbria University. The Economic and Social Research Council – Department for International Development (ESRC – DFID).

Recent Research

Dr. Nahar is involved in two different projects at Durham and Newcastle Universities, UK, as follows:

(a) The goal of the ‘Acculturation’ project at Durham University is to compare how different generations of British-Bangladeshis living in large communities in London (who may be buffered against some of the stressors associated with migration) and more ethnically isolated communities in the North East, have acculturated to UK life, by examining their social, psychological and physical wellbeing.

(b) The goal of the ‘TRUMP’ project at Newcastle University is to explore the potential of mobile technologies in the development of a platform to support chronic disease management; namely diabetes and depression, in rural areas of India and the UK.

Research Groups

  • Medical Anthropology Research Group, Durham University
  • International Infertility Research Group
  • Disasters and Development Centres (DDC), Northumbria University
  • Discussion List on Ethnicity, Infertility, and Reproduction
  • British Sociological Association

Teaching Experience

Papreen Nahar has taught at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Before moving to the UK from Bangladesh, she worked as an Assistant Professor at the Women and Gender Studies Department, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, as well as at the School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). She also taught a course titled 'Public Health in Developing Countries' for visiting students from the Nursing School of Vermont University, USA.

Additionally, she used to be a visiting faculty in the following universities:

  • James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh. (Module: 'Reproductive Health').
  • Disaster and Development Centre, Northumbria University, UK. (Module: 'Community Wellbeing in Disaster and Development')
  • Institute of Health and Society, (Module: 'Introduction to Global Health'), and Department of Geography, Politics and Sociology, (Postgraduate Training Programme: Ethnographic Traditions), Newcastle University, UK. 
  • Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg University, Germany. (Module: 'International Health').
  • Department of Anthropology, Durham University, UK.

Research Interests

  • Health and Wellbeing of the Diaspora Community
  • Health Security in Relation to Environmental Disaster
  • M-Health
  • Reproductive Health Issues of Both Males and Females (Infertility, Maternal Health, Family Planning, Pregnancy Behaviour, Sexuality)

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Translated by Papreen Nahar & Original by Sonia Nishat Amin (2003). The world of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876-1939 (Translated from English to Bengali). Bangla Academy Publishers, Dhaka.

Book review

  • Nahar, P. (2010). Book review. Medische Anthropologie 463-465.

Chapter in book

  • Nahar, P. (2015). Childlessness in Bangladesh: Women’s Experiences of Access to Biomedical Services for Infertility. In Accessing Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Issues of Culture and Diversity (Working Title). Simpson, R. & Hamshire, K. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Nahar, P., Collins, A.E., Alamgir, F., Ray-Bennett, N.S. & Bhuiya, A. (2011). Interrelations between water, health and livelihood in disasters. In Interlacing Water and Human Health: Case Studies from South Asia. Prakash, A., Saravanan, V.S. & Chourey, J. Sage Publication, New Delhi, India. 405-424.
  • Nahar, P. (2011). Understanding the stigma of childlessness through the meaning of ‘mandatory motherhood’. In Roads and Boundaries: Travels in search of (re-) connection. Tankink, M. & Vysma, M. Diemen, the Netherlands. 132-141.
  • Nahar, P. (2010). Mystery of empty laps: Life of childless women in Bangladesh. In Obgyn: Issues in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Health. Belgium: Universa Press. 28-34.
  • Nahar, P. (2010). State of women’s health in 18th and 19th centuries in capital Dhaka. In Women in Capital Dhaka. Bangladesh Asiatic society, Dhaka. Sonia Nishat Amin Bangladesh Asiatic society, Dhaka. 113-127.
  • Nahar, P. (2010). Violence against childless women in Bangladesh. In Gender based violence and sexual and reproductive health. Donta, B., Shah, I. & Puri, C.P. National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, World Health Organisation, and Indian Society for the Reproduction and Fertility, Mumbai. 11-30.
  • Sharmin, T., Nahar, P. & Chowdhury, K.K. (2009). Lay perception about illnesses and healthcare providers. In Health for the Rural Masses - Insights from Chakaria. Bhuiya, A. Print Link Printers. 55-66.

Conference Paper

  • Kazakos, K., Asthana, S., Balaam, M., Duggal, M., Holden, A., Jamir, L., Kannuri, N., Kumar, S., Mamindla, A., Manikam, A., Murthy, M., Nahar, P., Phillimore, P., Sathyanath, S., Singh, P., Singh, M., Wright, P., Yadav, D. & Olivier, P. (2016), A Real-Time IVR Platform for Community Radio, 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '16. San Jose, California, Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 343-354.

Doctoral Thesis

  • Nahar, P. (2007). Childlessness in Bangladesh: Suffering and resilience among rural and urban women. University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. PhD.

Journal Article

Masters Thesis

  • Nahar, P. (1999). The wings of the butterfly: Reproductive life and self-image of Dutch women with epilepsy. University of Amsterdam. Masters.
  • Nahar, P. (1993). Changing pattern of marital partner selection among middleclass Muslim families in Bangladesh. University of Dhaka. Masters.


  • Nahar, P. (2010). Do they match? Young people’s realities and needs relating to sexuality and youth friendly service provision in Bangladesh. Rutgers WPF and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

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Research Groups