Susan Reynolds Whyte

Susan Reynolds Whyte


Born in New York, 4 August 1943
Permanent resident of Denmark since January 1972

B.A. magna cum laude in Sociology and Anthropology Smith College, 1965
PhD in anthropology, University of Washington, 1973

Teaching Positions
Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Instructor 1972-1974, Assistant Professor 1974-1977, Associate Professor 1977-1997, Professor, 1998-present

Research Experience

  1. Lifeworlds and the pursuit of well-being: long term fieldwork in Uganda on pragmatics and management of uncertainty in situations of everyday life and relations to family/significant others; life course, time and inter-subjectivity
  2. Perceptions of health and illness, managing threats to health: conceptions of body, mind, and person, explanations of misfortune, the relation of illness perceptions to possibilities of treatment (research in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)
  3. Health care systems, policy and interventions: research in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda on composite health system, pharmaceuticals between the public and private sectors, the gap between policy and practice, management of chronic conditions, concept of ‘social technology’
  4. Globalization: the movements of ideas, discourses and commodities working in two topical areas: disability and global health technologies
  5. Relations between generations: historical and genealogical generations in light of changing economic, political, epidemiological, demographic conditions
  6. Changing Human Security: response to transformative historical events such as the AIDS epidemic and armed conflict in Africa

Research supervision and leadership

Primary supervision of 31 current or completed Ph.d. projects and co-supervision of 24

Planning and supervision of a two-year national study of community drug use in Uganda, 1992-1994 and a three year intervention research phase 1996-1999 (EU and Danida).

Leader of Enhancement of Research Capacity Programme (Danida) on interactions between communities and health systems in Uganda (aka TORCH), with Makerere University, 1994-2006

Leader, Danish National Research School of Anthropology and Ethnography, 2001-4

Core member: Changing human security: recovering from armed conflict in northern Uganda, with Gulu University, 2009-13

Core member: Improving medicine use for children in Uganda, with Makerere University, 2011-2014

Core member: Transforming governance: land and trust in northern Uganda, with Gulu University 2013-2016

Core member: Post-conflict mobility: challenges and potentials for primary health care in northern Uganda, with Gulu University 2013-2016

Steering committee, Building Stronger Universities, Platform for Stability, Democracy and Rights, 2011- 2014

Co-coordinator: Building Stronger Universities—collaboration between Danish Universities and Gulu University

Other Professional Positions
Member of the Council for Development Research, Danish Foreign Ministry, 1987-1992. (Vice-chairman from 1990).

Member of the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, 1987-1992.

Member of the Board, Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen, 1989-92, 1999-2001.

Founding Board Member, Danish International Health Research Network, 1994-2009.

Member of Copenhagen University's North/South Research Coordination Group, 1995-2002.

Board Member, Council on Health Research for Development (an NGO located in the Office of UNDP, Geneva), 1996-2002.

Advisory Board, Max Planck Institute, Halle: Law, Organisation, Science and Technology: 2007-11.

Scientific Committee, Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims, 2006-2012

Scientific Advisory Board, Research Cluster Society and Culture in Motion, University of Halle, 2013-

Editorial Board, Anthropology & Medicine, 1996-

Editorial Board, Medicine Anthropology Theory, 2014-

Editorial Board, Africa, Journal of the International Africa Institute, 2012-

Co-editor, Journal of Peace and Security Studies, 2014-

Council Member, International Africa Institute, from January 2014.

Amaury Talbot Prize awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain for the most valuable monograph in African anthropology published in 1997.

Einar Hansen Research Fund, Honorary Prize for Humanistic Research, 2013

Honorary Doctorate, Faculty of Arts, University of Zürich, 2014

Ester Boserup Award, University of Copenhagen, 2015

Review work
Referee for articles in Current Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Africa, African Affairs, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology and Medicine, Social Science & Medicine, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Social Studies of Science, and others

Reviewer of book proposals and manuscripts for University of California Press, James Currey, Wiley-Blackwell, Routledge, University of Chicago Press, Policy Press, Duke University Press.

Selected Publications
Ingstad, Benedicte & S.R. Whyte, eds. Disability and Culture. Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press. 1995.

Whyte, S.R.. 1997. Questioning Misfortune: The Pragmatics of Uncertainty in Eastern Uganda. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Amaury Talbot Prize 1997)

Whyte, S.R., S. van der Geest & Anita Hardon. Social Lives of Medicines. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002.

Ingstad, Benedicte & SR Whyte (eds.) Disability in Local and Global Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2007

Alber, Erdmute, Sjaak van der Geest, SR Whyte (eds.) 2008. Generations in Africa: Connections and Conflicts. Münster: LIT Verlag.

Whyte, S.R. (ed) Second Chances: Surviving AIDS in Uganda. 2014. Durham: Duke University Press.

Articles and book chapters
Whyte, S.R. 2002. Subjectivities and subjunctivities: hoping for health in Eastern Uganda In: Richard Werbner (ed.) Post-Colonial African Subjectivities. London: Zed Press.

Whyte, S.R. 2005. Going home? burial and belonging in the era of AIDS. Africa 75 (2):154-172.

Whyte, S.R. 2009. Health identities and subjectivities: the ethnographic challenge. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 23 (1): 6-15.

Whyte, S.R. 2011. Writing knowledge and acknowledgement: possibilities in medical research. Pp. 29-56.  In: Wenzel Geissler (ed.) Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Whyte, S.R. 2012. Chronicity and Control: Framing ‘noncommunicable diseases’ in Africa. Anthropology & Medicine 19 (1): 63-74

Whyte, S.R.,S. Babiiha, R. Mukyala, L. Meinert. 2013. Remaining internally displaced: missing links to human security in northern Uganda. Journal of Refugee Studies 26 (2): 283-301

Meinert, Lotte and SR Whyte. 2013. Creating the new times: reburials after war in northern Uganda. Pp. 175-193. In: Dorthe Pedersen and Rane Willerslev (eds.) Taming Time, Timing Death: Social Technologies and Rituals. Farnham: Ashgate.

Whyte, S.R., MA Whyte, Lotte Meinert, Jenipher Twebaze. 2013. Therapeutic clientship: belonging in Uganda’s projectified landscape of AIDS care. Pp. 140-165. In João Biehl & Adriana Petryna (eds.) When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Meinert, Lotte, Julaina Obika and SR Whyte. 2014. Crafting forgiveness accounts after war in northern Uganda: editing for effect. Anthropology Today 30 (4): 10-14.

Whyte, S.R., Sulayman Babiiha, Rebecca Mukyala, Lotte Meinert. 2014. Urbanization by subtraction: the afterlife of camps in northern Uganda. Journal of Modern African Studies 52:4: 597-622.

Whyte, S.R., Lotte Meinert, Julaina Obika, 2015. Untying wrongs in northern Uganda. Pp 43-60.  In William C. Olsen and Walter van Beek (eds.) Evil in Africa: Encounters with the Everyday. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

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