Dr Claudia Merli, PhD (Uppsala)
(email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a Cultural Anthropologist specialising in anthropology of health/medical anthropology. My path in anthropology developed during my Laurea in Literature and Philosophy (Summa cum Laude) from the University of Rome 'La Sapienza', with a dissertation in Cultural Anthropology on the colonial and postcolonial perceptions of two gender-specific Malay culture-bound syndromes, amok and latah. Expanding my area of investigation across the Malaysian northwestern border, my PhD research and dissertation (2008) in Cultural Anthropology at Uppsala University focused on reproductive health and bodily practices of Muslim women in Southern Thailand, and is published by Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. The book has been reviewed in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2010 and I was invited to present it at the Royal Anthropological Institute's prestigious seminar series 'Reviewer Meets Reviewed' held at the British Museum (October 2011). At present my broad research interest is the Southeast Asian region and Thailand, and I am conducting fieldwork in Southern Thailand on male and female genital cutting, gendered bodily practices related to reproduction, Buddhist and Muslim female spirit mediums, ethno-religious conflict in Southern Thailand, and the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I am also investigating matters of fertility and population growth in Thailand's policies. In 2016 I have started fieldwork in Japan with a project on local perceptions on health and volcanic ash, in the area of the Sakurajima volcano, as part of the HIVE consortium (Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions) http://community.dur.ac.uk/hive.consortium/about.php .
Theoretically, my main aim is to investigate the possibilities offered by the intersections between Foucauldian biopower, biopolitics, governmentality, and phenomenological perspectives on the body, putting the body in context. I explore this theoretical approach together with students of level 4 module 'Body, Politics and Experience'. For my other strand of research, I apply critical perspectives in risk research and anthropological study of post-hazard social processes, especially theological discourses, contextual theodicies and related politics.
During my undergraduate studies I pursued my long-term musical passion and obtained a Diploma of Piano from the Conservatoire of Perugia, followed by one year at the Experimental School of Chamber Music at 'S. Cecilia' Conservatoire in Rome. I was active in both chamber music ensembles and as solo pianist until 2002. My drive for music has recently translated into joining the vibrant activity of the Durham Gamelan Society, where I am learning Javanese gamelan music. In 2014 I have attended a Taiko (Japanese drumming) workshop.
Department of Anthropology
Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing
- Medical anthropology
- Body and embodiment
- Reproductive health
- Thailand, Muslim minority
- Female genital cutting
- Male circumcision
- Natural hazards, tsunami, catastrophes and religion
- Ethnopsychiatry, anthropology of mental illness, PTSD
- Culture-bound syndromes
Indicators of Esteem
- 2014: — present. Elected member of ASEASUK Executive Committee :
- 2013: Swedish National Agency for Higher Education: Nominated member of the expert panel to evaluate education in ethnology and anthropology 2011-2014.
- 2012: — present. Royal Anthropological Institute: Member of the Medical Anthropology Committee
- 2012: Invitation to act as Rapporteur for ESRC: The Rapporteur is requested to reviewing a grant's End of Award report, Impact report and nominated outputs and then forming a judgement.
- 2012: Italian Ministry of Education: Evaluator for the Italian Research Quality Exercise VQR 2004-10.
- 2011: Invited presentation: Seminar "Reviewer meets Reviewed" organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute, British Museum's Centre for Anthropology, London, 20 October. Discussion between Dr Claudia Merli author of ‘Bodily Practices and Medical Identities in Southern Thailand’ and Alyson Brody who reviewed the work for the JRAI.
- 2009: — present General Editor of Durham Anthropology Journal (DAJ) (from October 2009).:
- 2009: Invited Chair for the panel 'Locating the subject/object of suffering and intervention' 6th Nordic Medical Anthropology Conference, Gothenburg 11–14 June.:
- 2007: — present. Invited foreign Member : Research group ‘Pratiques thérapeutiques, transmission des savoirs’ at the Centre Asie du Sud-Est UMR 8170, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris.
- Merli, C. (2008). Bodily Practices and Medical Identities in Southern Thailand. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.
- Merli, C. (2018). Thai in Vitro: Gender, Culture, and Assisted Reproduction. Andrea Whittaker, New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015, 276 pp. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 32(1).
- Merli, C. (2014). Review of the book The end of innocence. Indonesian Islam and the temptations of radicalism by Rémy Madinier and Andrée Feillard. Aseasuk News 55: 28-31.
- Merli, C. (2013). Review of the book Mapping national anxieties. Thailand's southern conflict by Duncan McCargo. Aseasuk News 54: 17-18.
- Merli, C. (2010). Review of the book Divided over Thaksin: Thailand’s coup and problematic transition edited by John Funston. Aseasuk News: Newsletter of the Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the United Kingdom 48: 17-20.
- Merli, C. (2009). Review of the book The Practice of War: Production, Reproduction, and Communication of Armed Violence. Ethos 37(2).
Chapter in book
- Schipper, E. L. F., Merli, C. & Nunn, P. D. (2014). How religion and beliefs influence perceptions of and attitudes towards risk. In World Disasters Report 2014: Focus on Culture and Risk. Cannon, T., Schipper, E. L. F., Bankoff, G. & Krüger, F. Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 37-63.
- Merli, C. (2013). Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford University Press.
- Merli, C. (2012). Negotiating female genital cutting (sunat) in Southern Thailand. In Self-Determination and Women's Rights in Muslim Societies. Raghavan, C. & Levine, J. Waltham, Mass: Brandeis University Press. 169-187.
- Merli, C. (2012). Religion and disaster in anthropological research. In Critical Risk Research: Practices, Politics and Ethics. Kearnes, M., Klauser, F. & Lane, S. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. 43-58.
- Norman, A.H., Russell, A.J. & Merli, C. (2016). The Quality and Outcomes Framework: Body commodification in UK General Practice. Social Science & Medicine 170: 77-86.
- Merli, C. & Buck, T. (2015). Forensic identification and identity politics in 2004 Post-Tsunami Thailand: Negotiating dissolving boundaries. Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal 1(1): 3-22.
- Merli, C. (2011). Patrescence in Southern Thailand: Cosmological and social dimensions of fatherhood among the Malay-Muslims. Culture, Health and Sexuality 13(S2): 235-248.
- Merli, C. (2010). Context-bound Islamic theodicies: The tsunami as supernatural retribution versus natural catastrophe in Southern Thailand. Religion 40(2): 104-111.
- Merli, C. (2010). Male and female genital cutting among Southern Thailand’s Muslims: rituals, biomedical practices, and local discourses. Culture, Health and Sexuality 12(7): 725-738.
- Merli, C. (2010). Muslim midwives between traditions and modernity: Being and becoming a bidan kampung in Satun province, Southern Thailand. Moussons 15: 121-135.
- Merli, C. (2008). Sunat for girls in southern Thailand: Its relation to traditional midwifery, male circumcision and other obstetrical practices. Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration 3(2): 32-41.
- Merli, C. (2005). Religious interpretations of Tsunami in Satun province, Southern Thailand: Reflections on ethnographic and visual materials. Svensk Religionshistorisk Årsskrift 14: 154-181.
- Merli, C. (1999). The Amok Runner: From the gallant warrior to the hospitalised madman. Changes in the view of a Malay cultural phenomenon transformed into a psychiatric syndrome. (Il corridore di Amok: dall'eroico guerriero al folle internato. Mutamenti nella visione di un fenomeno culturale malese trasformato in sindrome psichiatrica). AM. Rivista della Società italiana di antropologia medica 7-8: 209-250.
Available for media contact about:
- Infant and child health: Male and female genital cutting
- Religion: Religion and natural hazard, local communities' recovery
- Conflict and resolution: Thailand, ethno-religious conflict in Southern Thailand
- 2016: Seedcorn Funding for research in the Vajont dam disaster area (£13,744)
- 2015: HIVE: A new evidence base for respiratory Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruption crises (£585963.00 from ELRHA)
- 2015: HIVE: A new evidence base for respiratory Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruption crises (£7879.00 from ELRHA)
- 2014: Seedcorn Funding Durham University (£2,315)
- 2010: 2010: NordForsk Researcher Network "Nordic Network for Philosophical Anthropology" (co-applicant, 900,000 NOK/£96,800)
- 2008: Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation project grant ‘Pregnancy loss and female spirit mediums in Southern Thailand’ (40,000 SEK/£3,370).
- 2008: The Royal Society for Humanities and Science in Uppsala publishing support (20,000 SEK/£1,715).
- 2007: The Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation project grant ‘Female and male circumcision in Southern Thailand’ (36,000 SEK/£3,085).
- 2005: Margot and Rune Johansson Foundation project grant ‘Tsunami: Buddhist contra Islamic local discourses in Southern Thailand’ (20,000 SEK/£1,715).
- 2003: Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography project grant (30,000 SEK/£2,580).
- 2003: The Donner Institute of Åbo Academy, Finland for fieldwork (9,000 EUR).
- 2002: Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography project grant (30,000 SEK/£2,580).
- 2001: Full PhD funding Faculty Board Uppsala University