SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Mary-Anne Decatur

MSc Medical Anthropology (UCL), BA Psychology (University of Chicago)
  • Overview


Mary-Anne Decatur
Miss Mary-Anne Decatur
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Thesis title:
Medicalization and Meaning: Male Circumcision, Female Genital Cutting and HIV in Northern Tanzania (working title)

PhD Research

Within international health and human rights discourses, male circumcision is widely presented as beneficial to health and a tool for HIV prevention, while female genital cutting is regarded as fundamentally dangerous to health and ethically problematic. This distinction has prompted governments, NGOs, religious organizations, health institutions and some traditional leaders to promote the continuation of male circumcision, but the eradication of female genital cutting. My research explores the ways in which negotiations and struggles over the process of knowledge production and validation of evidence are influenced by, and influence, the reception and formation of health messages promoting male circumcision and eradicating female genital cutting in Moshi, Tanzania. How do community members acting as religious leaders, NGO workers, healthcare providers and traditional leaders attempt to increase health and well-being in their communities through the management and control of male circumcision and female genital cutting practices?


  • 2013. Empowerment and Knowledge: Examining Discourses of Female Genital Cutting in a London NGO. Durham Anthropology Journal. (Forthcoming)
  • 2013. Review of Medical Anthropology at the Intersections: Histories, Activisms, and Futures. Anthropology Review Database. (Forthcoming)
  • 2012. Review of Africa Rising: The Grassroots Movement to End Female Genital Mutilation. Anthropology Review Database, January 3rd, 2012.
  • 2011. Female Genital Cutting: Drawing Lines in the Ambiguous Divide Between Anthropology and Activism. Student Anthropologist, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 9-10.
  • 2011. Review of Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil. Anthropology Review Database, October 1st, 2011.


  • 2012. Intervention and Activism in the Field: The Case of Female Genital Cutting. 13th Annual Researching Africa Day, St Antony’s College, Oxford.
  • 2011. Empowerment and Knowledge: Examining Discourses of Female Genital Cutting in a London NGO. Royal Anthropological Institute’s 1st Annual Postgraduate Conference, Durham University.


Tumaini University Makumira/Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (during fieldwork)