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  • Direction of Research

Laurent Pordié Laurent Pordié, anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist, is a Senior Researcher with the CNRS (Cermes, Paris) and a member of the Cluster of Excellence at the University of Heidelberg. A former Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the French Institute of Pondicherry (CNRS-MAEE), Laurent held visiting positions at the University of Chicago, JNU Delhi, and the University of Louvain. He is the Founder and Research Director of the Nomad Research Unit since 2000. His works and publications mainly concern the anthropology of science and medicine in South Asia, including the volumes The Expression of Religion in Tibetan Medicine (FIP 2003); Panser le monde, penser les medicines (Karthala, 2005); a special issue of the Indian Anthropologist (2007); Tibetan medicine in the Contemporary World (Routledge, 2008 - winner of the ICAS Book Prize 2009), a special issue of Revue d’Anthropologie des Connaissances (2011), and Healing at the Periphery (Duke University Press, in press).

  • Research Fellows

Florian Besch Florian Besch is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. He is member of the Nomad Research Unit since 2001. He is spezialised in the anthropology of the Himalayas, development and especially medical anthropology. His main research focus has been the socio-political and economical processes of modernization among the local Tibetan medical practitioners in Spiti, Northwest India. His publications concern Tibetan medicine in the northwestern Himalayas. Florian is currently working on a monograph on Tibetan medicine in Spiti.

Calum BlaikieCalum Blaikie is an anthropologist,ANR Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research on Medicine, Science and Society, Paris, and French Institute of Pondicherry. He is a member of the Nomad Resarch Unit since 2001. Calum’s dissertation (PhD Kent) examined the relationships between changes in the economy of medicinal raw materials / medicines, and the practice of Tibetan medicine. His research now focuses on the dynamics of Tibetan pharmaceutical industry

Frédéric BourdierFrédéric Bourdier is an anthropologist at the University of Bordeaux, and research fellow at the Research Institute for Development (IRD). He became a permanent member of the Nomad Research Unit in 2005. Frédéric has been conducting research in South India, French and Brazilian Amazon and Cambodia. His researches have focused on the social dimension of health, traditional medicines, migration and health related issues, the social ecology of indigenous people, and HIV/AIDS. More recently, he has been in charge of a French-Cambodian programme dealing with the health policies and the mobilisation of civil society in the fight against HIV/AIDS. From 2007 onwards he is pursuing his investigations both in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Yunnan in China on the interactions between societies and nature. He has published extensively, including two monographs Sexualité et sida en Inde du Sud (Karthala, 2001), Migration et sida en Amazonie française et brésilienne (Ibis Rouge, 2004), and three edited volumes On Research and Action (IFP, 1998), Reproductive Health of Humankind in Asia and Africa (New Delhi Publishing Corporation, 2000), and The Mountains of Precious Stones. Essays in Social Anthropology (Center for Khmer Studies, 2006).

Elisabeth DodinetElisabeth Dodinet is ethnobotanist at the Research Center on Mediterranean History and Protohistory (UMR 5608 CRPPM), Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) – Université de Toulouse II « Arts et cultures de la Préhistoire ». She is also the General Secretary of the French Botanical Society. Elisabeth is a member of the Nomad Research Unit since 2003. Her research is concerned with the history of aromatic plants in the Mediterranean Antiquity, more specifically on botanical identification. She is involved in various research programs of the Group of Scientific Interest for the Study of Perfumes. Her research also explores the ethnobotany and ethnobiology of Tibetan medicine as they relate to the problematic of plants identification.

Pascale Hancart PetitetPascale Hancart Petitet is an anthropologist, researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam and Associated to the Research Center Health Societies at the University of Aix-Marseille. Also trained as a midwife, Pascale’s research concerns the body, illness and medicine in connection with cultural, social and political reproduction. She has interests in both applied and theoretical anthropology (medical systems, gender, and reproductive technologies). Since 2008, her research, conducted in collaboration with the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia, addresses issues related to the social construction and social production of family planning in the context of HIV. Her doctoral thesis in anthropology, conducted in partnership with the French Institute of Pondicherry, document social dimension of birth in South India. Among her publications, the books Maternités en Inde du Sud (Edilivre, 2008) and L’art des matrones revisité (Faustroll, 2011).

Stephan KloosStephan Kloos is a medical anthropologist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, affiliated with the French Institute of Pondicherry (Unit 21 CNRS-MAEE), and a member of the Nomad Research Unit since 2001. He conducts his research in South Asia and particularly the Indian Himalayas, including Dharamsala, Ladakh and the Darjeeling Hills. Stephan’s research has focused mainly on Tibetan medicine in exile, its history and contemporary transformations. He is especially interested in current re-articulations of pharmaceutical efficacy and production methods of Tibetan drugs at the intersection of nationalist politics, Buddhist ethics, modern science, and the capitalist market. Stephan has published a monograph entitled Tibetan Medicine among the Buddhist Dards of Ladakh (Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde 2004) as well as numerous articles and book chapters in English, German and French, and is currently working on turning his PhD dissertation (UC San Francisco & Berkeley, 2010) into a monograph. Visit Stephan’s website

Olivier SchmitzOlivier Schmitz is a sociologist and an anthropologist, research fellow at the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis at Brussels. He is also a reader at the University Charles-de-Gaulle/Lille3, at the Facultés St-Louis and at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve. Olivier is member of the Nomad Research unit since 2003. His current research is focusing on the non-conventional therapeutic recourse of cancer patients, and on homeopathy in Belgium and India. His works concern health and illness, including the volumes Soigner par l’invisible (Imago, 2006), Les médecines en parallèles (Karthala, 2006), La séropositivité : un regard des sciences sociales (Bruxelles, Editions des Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis – written with M. Vignes), and a special issue of Recherches Sociologiques (Louvain, 2004).

  • PhD Candidates

Sandra BaernreutherSandra Bärnreuther is a doctoral candidate in social anthropology at the South Asia Institute and the Cluster of Excellence ’Asia & Europe’, University of Heidelberg (Germany). For her M.A. thesis, she conducted fieldwork on childbirth in rural Ladakh within the framework of a Nomad RSI program (2007-2008). Sandra joined the Nomad Research Unit in 2010. Her current research explores issues of reproductive health in transnational contexts.

Anne JacquemotAnne Jacquemot is a PhD Candidate at the “Communication, Culture and Society” Research Center (C2so), Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines (ENS LSH), Lyon. She has joined Nomad Research Unit in February 2009. Her current research explores the integration of complementary and alternative medicines in western societies and how these practices lead to the reconfiguration of the field of healthcare and medicine. Anne’s research deals with the processes of circulation, transformation and institutionalisation of social and scientific knowledge, through the observation of specific appropriation strategies. The approach follows the pluridisciplinary pattern of information and communication sciences, combining ethnology and semiotics.

Contractual Members

Claire BousquetClaire Bousquet is a student in MA (Social Anthropology) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Toulouse. Her current research explores medicinal plants knowledge and utilization among Tibetan medical practitioners in Ladakh. She is also interested in the social dimension of medicinal plants use.

Jennifer DerhamJennifer Derham is a student on the MSc Ethnobotany programme, a collaboration between Kew Gardens and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kent. She completed her BSc Health Sciences: Herbal Medicine with the University of Westminster and subsequently trained in Nutrition. Her present research project is Nutrition Transition and Badkan-sMugpo: an Exploratory study of dietary changes and gastrointestinal symptoms amongst Ladakhis, Northern India. She has joined the NRU for the years 2010-2011.

Aurélia Desplain Aurélia Desplain is an MA student in Social Anthroplogy (Specialty "Cultures, Policies and Health") at the University of Bordeaux. She is currently conducting research in Mondulkiri Province, North-East Cambodia, on Village Health Workers. The study narrowly focuses on one Bunong village located in a remote area. She has joined the NRU for the year 2012.

Magalie GondalMagalie Gondal holds a Master in Archeology of Landscape and a Master in the History of Gardens and Landscape from the University of Paris 1 – Sorbonne. Since 2004, she conducted several works and expertise on landscape and cultural heritage. She is currently back to university where she pursue an International Certificate in Human Ecology at the Centre de Recherche « Cultures, Santé, Sociétés », Paul Cézanne University at Aix-Marseille, under the supervision of Alice Desclaux. Magalie is a member of the Nomad Research Unit for the years 2007-2009. Her work focuses on local knowledge, medicinal plants and conservation in the French Pyrenees.

Pauline Laval joined the Nomad Research Unit following a six-month research conducted in 2009. The study focused on the community strategies to face medicinal plants decline in two villages of the Mondulkiri province, North-eastern Cambodia. Determined to continue her work in this field, and after graduating as an engineer in agricultural development (ISTOM) in 2010, she is currently pursuing her studies in M2 EDTS (Environmental Anthropology) at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Brigitte NiklesBrigitte Nikles has an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Zurich, for which she conducted research in North-east Cambodia on livelihood strategies and natural resource management among the Phnongs (Punongs) people. Her research interests cover the political anthropology of indigenous movements and the study of various forms of resistance. She works today on maternal health among the Punongs, as a member of the Nomad Reseach Unit since 2007.

Céline ValadeauCéline Valadeau, anthropologist and ethnobotanist, is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Americanist Studies and Research Centre (LESC-National Centre for Scientific Research). Her research integrated studies of anthropology and ethnobotanic with the goal of understanding personhood, illness, treatments and body’s incorporeal mechanisms. Currently, her research is divided into two main areas. The first one is to understand the interaction between personhood and illnesses. The second one is interested on the interaction of biomedical concept as flu or malaria with traditional health practice. Since 2012 and after working few years in Peruvian Amazonian buffer zone, her research studies the translation of malaria policies into health practices among Bunong’s social group in Cambodia. Among her publications, the books Médecine chez les Yanesha d’Amazonie péruvienne : la traversée par les plantes (L’Harmattan, 2012) and Yato’ Ramuesh: Pare’shemats Yanesha, Yato’ Ramuesh : Plantas medicinales yanesha (IRD, 2008 avec G. Bourdy et A. Castillo).

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