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Dr. B. (Branwyn) Poleykett

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body

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

    I am a medical anthropologist and an assistant professor in the Health, Care and the Body research group. My research is concerned broadly with the politics and practice of public health and I conduct long term ethnographic research in Dakar, Senegal. My monograph Lines of Sight: Public Health in an African Image World (under review) examines how health authorities, filmmakers, Sufi urban artists, and public ecology activists in Dakar have communicated about the body and its publics. The book draws on cases of public health communication to trace the emergence, and fragmentation, of an imagined mass audience for public health and development interventions.

    My more recent research in Dakar has focused on everyday eating in the city, specifically how the emergence of “new” chronic diseases is changing how urban households procure, prepare and share food. Investigating chronicities in Dakar I often heard people say that it was necessary to remake the Senegalese urban diet and to return to “traditional” foodways.

    My current work focuses on the dietary and ecological futures embodied in one crop: millet. Around the world, millets are increasingly imagined as a panacea for ecological, economic and public health challenges. Healing bodies, restoring landscapes, creating climate-safe agricultural solutions, and challenging the dominance of rice, wheat and maize: millets promise healthy and sustainable futures. Drawing on ongoing fieldwork in Europe and West Africa, my research explores why millets have become globally iconic of reparative and restorative approaches to food and eating. In Senegal and elsewhere, encounters with millets stimulate critique of modern consumption. Reanimating the past, however, is not straightforward, and scientists, cooks and cultivators also experience ambivalence as they promote millets as the solution to interlocking economic, ecological and nutritional crises. 

  • Teaching

    I coordinate an undergraduate Theme Course, the Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body. I also co-teach the course Theorising Practice, Practicing Theory on the Medical Anthropology and Sociology Masters Programme.


  • Publications



    • Heney, V., & Poleykett, B. (2022). The impossibility of engaged research: Complicity and accountability between researchers, ‘publics’ and institutions. Sociology of Health and Illness, 54(S1), 179-194. Advance online publication.
    • Poleykett, B. (2022). A broom to the head: ‘Cleaning Day’ and the aesthetics of emergence in Dakar. Urban Studies, 59(2), 381-396. Advance online publication. [details]
    • Poleykett, B. (2022). Collective eating and the management of chronic disease in Dakar: translating and enacting dietary advice. Critical public health, 32(4), 462-471. Advance online publication.


    • Lynteris , C., & Poleykett, B. (2018). The anthropology of epidemic control: technologies and materialities. Medical Anthropology, 37(6), 433-441.
    • Poleykett, B. (2018). Ethnohistory and the Dead: Cultures of Colonial Epidemiology. Medical Anthropology, 37(6), 472-485.
    • Poleykett, B. (2018). Made in Denmark: scientific mobilities and the place of pedagogy in Global Health. Global public health, 13(3), 276-287.
    • Poleykett, B. (2018). Public culture and the spectacle of epidemic disease in Rabat and Casablanca. In Plague and the City (pp. 159-172). Routledge.


    • Poleykett, B. (2017). Pasteurian tropical medicine and colonial scientific vision. Subjectivity, 10(2).



    • Poleykett, B. (2015). Molecular and municipal politics: Research and regulation in Dakar. In Para-States and Medical Science: Making African Global Health (pp. 237-256). Duke University Press.



    • Poleykett, B. (2019). Une expérience ambiguë? Catégorisations de la sexualité rétribuée et lutte contre le sida au Sénégal. In Se Mobiliser Contre le Sida en Afrique : Sous la sante globale, les luttes associatives Paris, L’Harmattan Harmattan.


    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
    No ancillary activities