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Dr. T. (Tanja) Ahlin

Post-doctoral researcher
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
Photographer: StudioEmblanco

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Postal address
  • Postbus 15509
    1001 NA Amsterdam
  • Profile

    Tanja Ahlin is a post-doctoral researcher on the Anthropology of Data within the Research Priority Area "Human(e) AI" and a member of the AI4Society Sandbox of the Responsible Digital Transformations initiative. After obtaining her PhD from the University of Amsterdam (2020), she worked as a lecturer at UvA and was a visiting fellow at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (AUMC).

    As an Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies researcher, Tanja uses ethnographic methods to explore how everyday digital and specialized health technologies participate in social relations. In her research, writing and teaching she deals with pragmatic questions of technology for health and care as well as what it means to be human in a technologically enhanced world.

    Tanja’s monograph, Calling Family: Digital Technologies and the Making of Transnational Care Collectives, will be published by Rutgers University Press in August 2023.

    Expertise and research fields

    • Digital technologies
    • Robotics
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Data
    • Care
    • Aging
    • Gender
    • Migration
  • Research

    Research methods

    • Ethnography / Participant observation
    • Remote and digital fieldwork
    • Focus groups
    • Visual methods
    • Inter- and transdisciplinary approach

    Current research projects

    Animal Cares: A comparative ethnography of  animals and social robots in elder care

    Research grants & honours

    Grants (selection)

    • 2022      Seed grant, AI4Society Sandbox, Responsible Digital Transformations, Faculty of Humanities, AISSR, University of Amsterdam.
    • 2021      Seed grant, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Department of Ethics, Law and Humanities, Amsterdam.
    • 2013      TransGlobalHealth, Erasmus Mundus Program, Educational, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission, PhD Grant
    • 2013      NWO Open Access Grant


    • Excellence in Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship, Honorable mention, General Anthropology Division (GAD), American Anthropological Association (2021)
    • The Jacob Climo Award, Association of Anthropology, Gerontology and the Life Course (2019).
    • Best PhD pitch award, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (2019). Produced video:
    • Graduate Student Paper Prize, Science, Technology and Medicine, AAA (2016).
  • Publications


    • Ahlin, T. (2023). Calling Family: Digital Technologies and the Making of Transnational Care Collectives. (Medical anthropology: health, inequality, and social justice). Rutgers University Press. [details]
    • Ahlin, T. (2023). Care at a Distance: Digital Technologies and Ageing in Transnational Families . In Handbook of Aging, Health and Public Policy (pp. 1-20). Springer. Advance online publication.
    • Ahlin, T., & Hiddinga, H. J. (2023). Technological socialities: The impact of information and communication technologies on belonging among deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Sociology Compass, 17(5), Article e13068. Advance online publication.
    • Cabalquinto, E., & Ahlin, T. (2023). Researching (im)mobile lives during a lockdown: Reconceptualizing remote interviews as field events. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 26(6), 802-821. Advance online publication.


    • Cabalquinto, E., & Ahlin, T. (2021). Care within or out of reach: Fantasies of care and connectivity in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In L. Manderson, N. J. Burke, & A. Wahlberg (Eds.), Viral Loads: Anthropologies of urgency in the time of COVID-19 (1 ed., pp. 344-361). (Embodying Inequalities: Perspectives from Medical Anthropology). UCL Press.


    • Ahlin, T. (2020). Eldercare at a Distance: On Remittances and Everyday Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Indian Transnational Families. In C. Brosius, & R. Mandoki (Eds.), Caring for Old Age: Perspectives from South Asia (pp. 213-235). (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality; Vol. 8). Heidelberg University Publishing. [details]
    • Ahlin, T. (2020). Frequent Callers: “Good Care” with ICTs in Indian Transnational Families. Medical Anthropology, 39(1), 69–82. Advance online publication. [details]
    • Ahlin, T., & Sen, K. (2020). Shifting duties: becoming ‘good daughters’ through elder care practices in transnational families from Kerala, India. Gender, Place and Culture, 27(10), 1395-1414 . Advance online publication. [details]





    • Manderson, L., Davis, M., Colwell, C., & Ahlin, T. (2015). On Secrecy, Disclosure, the Public, and the Private in Anthropology: An introduction to Supplement 12. Current Anthropology, 56(12), S183-S190. [details]




    • Ahlin, T. (2011). Technology and Cultural (R)evolution: Can Telemedicine Give Power to the Patients? Curare, 34(3), 165-172.


    • Ahlin, T. (2023). The unseen care work of nurses from Kerala. In C. Wichterich, & M. John (Eds.), Who Cares?: Care Extraction and the Struggles of Indian Health Workers Zubaan.


    • Ahlin, T. (2016). E-care in Kerala. In L. Manderson, E. Cartwright, & A. Hardon (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology (pp. 171-175). (Routledge handbooks). Routledge. [details]
    • Ahlin, T. (Author). (2016). Anthropology of e/m-health and telemedicine: Time to pay attention. Web publication or website, Anthropology News.



    • Ahlin, T., & Brijnath, B. R. (2012). Telemental Health in Biomedicine and Ayurveda: An Analysis of Online Health Forums in Slovenia and India. In M. Jordanova, & F. Lievens (Eds.), Proceedings of the International eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT Forum for Education, Networking and Business (pp. 365-379). Luxembourg: International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH).





    Prize / grant

    Membership / relevant position

    • Ahlin, T. & LI, F. (2016). What is the future of the field-site? Multi-sited and digital fieldwork. Panel co-organizer., Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA), Durham.
    • Ahlin, T. & Braitberg, V. (2012). The (In)equalities of global health: E-health and Telemedicine through the Lens of Critical Medical Anthropology. Panel co-organizer., Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), San Francisco.
    • Ahlin, T. & Brijnath, B. R. (2011). Moving Beyond the Clinic: Tracing the Tidemarks of Technology in Medicine. Chair and panel co-organizer., AAA Annual meeting, Montreal.

    Media appearance

    Talk / presentation

    • Ahlin, T. (keynote speaker) (6-12-2023). ECRA Young Scholars Workshop: Diaspora, Migration and the Media and International and Intercultural Communication, European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).
    • Ahlin, T. (invited speaker) (5-12-2016). Transnational care, Leiden University College.
    • Ahlin, T. (speaker) & Pols, A. J. (speaker) (18-5-2016). Technologie in de zorg: tussen hype en nachtmerrie, Ben Sajet Centrum.
    • Ahlin, T. (invited speaker) (20-4-2015). "Ker so moji otroci v tujini, lahko živim": Ekonomije skrbi v indijskih transnacionalnih družinah ("Because my children are abroad, I am living happily here": Economies of Care in Indian Transnational Families), Invited lecture, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana.
    • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (22-6-2014). Connected care: Everyday ICT use in elderly care provision in Indian transnational families, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) conference, Edinburgh.
    • Ahlin, T. (speaker) & Nichter, M. (speaker) (24-11-2013). The doctor-patient relationship in the Internet age: Health Practitioners’ Perspective., Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), Chicago.
    • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (13-6-2013). Disrupted Connections: Aging Alone in a World of Networks?, Society of Medical Anthropology and European Society of Social Anthropologists (SMA-EASA), Tarragona, Spain.
    • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (10-6-2013). Informants and/or Friends? Friendship as Method in Medical Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS), Tarragona, Spain.


    • Ahlin, T. (organiser) & Glabau, D. (organiser) (3-12-2017). Panel "Value and valuation in biomedicine" in Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), Washington DC. Organized panel: "Value and valuation in biomedicine" (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (organiser), Glabau, D. (organiser) & Sokolova, E. (organiser) (30-8-2017). Panel "Making Medical Innovation Ethical" at Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), Boston (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (organiser) & LI, F. (organiser) (4-7-2016 - 7-7-2016). Panel "What is the future of the field-site? Multi-sited and digital fieldwork" at Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA)., Durham (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (participant) (14-3-2014 - 20-3-2014). Wenner-Gren Foundation symposium, Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, Sintra, Portugal. The Death of the Secret: The Public and Private in Anthropology (conference monitor) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (participant) (25-2-2014 - 26-2-2014). International conference on Neglected Tropical Diseases (invited discussant), Kochi (Kerala), India (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (participant) (24-11-2013). Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), Chicago. Emergent Technologies, Future Publics (panel co-organizor) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Ahlin, T. (participant) & Raffaetà, R. (participant) (13-6-2013). Society of Medical Anthropology and European Society of Social Anthropologists (SMA-EASA), Tarragona, Spain. The Politics of Publishing (organizor and moderator) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).


    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Amsterdam Medical Center