Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Professor David Parkin

Key information

Department of Anthropology and Sociology Emeritus Professor
BA, PhD London ; Fellow British Academy
Telephone number
01235 526 254


Socio-cultural anthropology with reference to eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean littoral, with reference to religion, especially Islam, economic development, cross-cultural semantics, material culture and social evolution, and healing traditions.

Research interests

University of Oxford

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography

Research interests:
  • Islam and medicine, with particular reference to Swahili-speaking
    peoples of East Africa.
  • Ethnography and history of the Swahili-speaking peoples of East
  • The relationship of language development and the expression of the
    senses and emotions cross-culturally and in human evolution.
  • The development of a new materiality in anthropology (from objects
    to human density and scale).
  • Medical anthropology and the interpenetration of the social and the
    biological (with Elisabeth Hsu and Stanley Ulijaszek respectively).
  • Indian Ocean studies (with Zulfikar Hirji).
  • Human fertility and reproduction (with Soraya Tremayne).
  • The Interactive Mind (on the developing human interrelationships of
    mind, body and objects with Nigel Thrift, Chris Gosden and others).

Current (with Max-Planck-Institute, Goettingen, Germany): medical diversity