Anna Harris (A.)


Anna Harris is an Associate Professor of the Social Studies of Medicine. She is the PI of the ERC funded project Making Clinical Sense, and Co-PI on the projects Sense Based Learning (NRO funded) and SenseSquared (Erasmus+ funded). She co-ordinates the research theme in the MUSTS research group called Embodied Expertise in Art, Science and Medicine and is a long-standing member of the Inner City Research Ethics Committee. She serves as the secretary of the KNAW-funded Sensory Science Communication group in her Faculty.

Anna is a founding member of the Maastricht Young Academy (2017-2022) and was a member of the Global Young Academy (2017-2022), elected by members to serve on the Executive Committee (2021-2022). Since 2014 she has co-organised the Maastricht University Ethnography Group. With Denielle Elliott she co-edits the Somatosphere series on the craft of ethnographic writing called Writing Life.

Anna previously held research posts at the University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne, and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam, McGill University, RMIT, Brocher Foundation, University of Toronto and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Before coming to Europe, she completed a medical degree in Australia at the University of Tasmania, and a Masters (under the supervision of Tania Lewis) and PhD (under the principal supervision of Marilys Guillemin) in Medical Anthropology at the Centre for Health and Society, University of Melbourne.

Anna pursues an approach to the social study of medicine that is grounded in ethnographic studies of contemporary medical practices, her clinical experience working in hospitals, and collaborations with historians, doctors, artists, museum specialists and craftspeople. Her research spans the fields of anthropology, science and technology studies, medical education, medical humanities and health sociology. Her empirical cases focus on the anthropology and history of technological medical practices, especially concerning questions of sensorality, embodiment and learning. She also writes about hospital infrastructures (see her blog).

Anna has established a reputation for her work on the senses and sensory methodologies. Her book A Sensory Education is available free online and now in paperback. Other new books include the co-authored (with Tom Rice) Stethoscope: Making of a Medical Icon, and two edited volumes Making Sense of Medicine: Material Culture and the Reproduction of Medical Knowledge (with John Nott) and Reconstruction, Replication and Re-enactment in the Humanities and Social Sciences (with Sven Dupre, Julia Kursell, Patricia Lulof and Maartje Stols-Witlox). Her previous book CyberGenetics (with Sally Wyatt and Susan Kelly) was awarded the Sociology of Health and Illness book prize.

Anna's current book project is called Learning Materials, which explores how objects are used in education to craft imagination.


Photo credit: Arjen Schmitz.