Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Julia Modern

Key information

Department of Anthropology and Sociology ESRC postdoctoral fellow
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address


Julia Modern is an ESRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology.

She received her PhD in 2021 from the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research was focused on an organisation of disabled women traders based in a peri-urban market in western Uganda, with whom she has worked since 2013.

Her thesis considered how institutions and practices associated with the category ‘disabled’ shaped the conditions of possibility for different modes of community belonging for disabled people, including what kinds of social and economic claims different groups of disabled people made. She offered an account of how concepts of obligation based on interdependence can exist alongside and provide a counterpoint to models of disability justice based on individuals making claims on the state.

Julia is currently developing a postdoctoral project, which will look at the experiences of people who become disabled through accidents associated with plantation agriculture in western Uganda. This research will investigate the interaction between labour and disability legislation and organising, looking at the strategies that people follow to elicit justice, and how their choices interact with the ways that bodily-mental (in)capacity is conceptualised.

Julia has taught on undergraduate economic and political anthropology courses, including a particular focus on political and economic anthropology of ‘environment’ and ‘nature.’

Research interests

Uganda, East Africa; disability; mental distress; Deaf Studies; sign language interpretation; social movements, especially those operating in environments of institutional and economic precarity; embodiment and the theorisation and experience of non-normative body-minds; practices of entitlement and resource distribution; resource extraction.


Contact Julia