Susan Reynolds Whyte

Susan Reynolds Whyte


Born in New York, 4 August 1943
Permanent resident of Denmark since January 1972


B.A. magna cum laude in Sociology and Anthropology, Smith College, 1965

PhD in Anthropology, University of Washington, 1973


Academic Appointments

Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 1998-present.

Lektor (Associate Professor), Dept of Anthropology, Univ. of Copenhagen, 1977-1997.

Adjunkt (Assistant Professor), Dept of Anthropology, Univ. of Copenhagen, 1974-1977.

Instructor, Dept of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 1972-1974.

Gulu University, Uganda, Research and teaching collaborator, 2008-present.

Child Health and Development Centre, Makerere University, Uganda, Research Associate, 1994-present

Makerere Institute of Social Research, Uganda, Research Associate, 1968-1971, 1989-90.

Department of Social Medicine, Harvard University, Visiting Associate Professor, 1993

Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Women, Oxford University, Visiting Fellow, 1986.

Department of History, University of Nairobi, Research Associate, 1978-1979.


Research areas

  1. Lifeworlds and the pursuit of well-being: long term fieldwork in Uganda on the pragmatics and management of uncertainty; life course, aging, time and inter-subjectivity.
  2. Gender and generation: shifting patterns of relationship under changing economic, political, epidemiological, and demographic conditions.
  3. Changing human security: hosts and refugees in northern Uganda; tensions and transformations in land access after violent conflict.
  4. Health perceptions and practices: conceptions of body, mind, and person, explanations of misfortune, shifting shapes of sickness, disability, chronic illness, reproductive health.
  5. Composite health care systems: pharmaceuticals between the public and private sectors, policy and practice, management of chronic conditions, ‘social technology’.
  6. Globalization: the movements of ideas, discourses and commodities in the areas of disability and health technologies.



Research supervision and leadership

Primary supervision of 34 Ph.D. projects and co-supervision of 27

PhD assessment committees: Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Keele, East Anglia, Amsterdam, Leipzig, Zurich, Bayreuth, Ghent, Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø, Uppsala, Stockholm, Karolinska, Danish Educational University, Aarhus, Copenhagen

Planning and supervision of a two year national study of community drug use in Uganda, 1992-1994 and a three year intervention research phase 1996-1999 (EU and Danida).

Leader of Enhancement of Research Capacity Programme (Danida) on interactions between communities and health systems in Uganda, with Makerere University, 1994-2006

Leader, Danish National Research School of Anthropology and Ethnography, 2001-4

Leader, Research Centre on Social Difference and Health Promotion, 2005-8

Steering group. Type 2 diabetes among ethnic minority groups in Denmark. Danish Diabetes Association. 2005-2007.

Senior Researcher/ Steering Committee: Changing human security: recovering from armed conflict in northern Uganda, with Gulu University, 2009-13

Senior Researcher/Steering Committee: Post-Conflict Mobility: Challenges and Potentials for Primary Health Care in Northern Uganda, with Gulu University, 2013-2018

Senior Researcher/ Steering Committee: Improving medicine use for children in Uganda, with Makerere University, 2011-2014

Senior Researcher/ Steering Committee: Transforming governance: land and trust in northern Uganda, with Gulu University 2013-2017

Senior Researcher/ Steering Committee: Imagining Gender Futures in Uganda, with Gulu University, 2019-2024

Steering committee/Coordinator: Building Stronger Universities I, II & III. 2011-2022 (Gulu University)

Advisory Board/Partner: ANTHUSIA, The Anthropology of Human Security in Africa, 2017-2021

Advisory Board: Medical and environmental anthropology for 21st century East Africa, with Oslo University and University of Dar es Salaam, 2022-2026.

Advisory Board: Reorienting integration: Family-to-family as a model in Congolese UN-quota refugees’ settlement and orientation towards a new life in Denmark, 2022- 2026.

Advisory Board: ALTER-US: Kinship, Cognitive Difference and Care in the 21st Century Danish Welfare State. 2021-2024

Senior Researcher: CONTINUITY: Understanding how mobility affects forcibly displaced persons’ continuity of chronic health care. 2022-2027

Co-PI: Consequences of Covid-19 for Youth Reproductive Health in Uganda, 2022-2024


Other Professional Positions

Member of the Council for Development Research, Danish Foreign Ministry, 1987-1992. (Vice-chairman from 1990).

Member of the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, 1987-1992.

Member of the Board, Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen, 1989-92, 1999-2001.

Founding Board Member, Danish International Health Research Network, 1994-2009 (Centre for International Health and Development 2004-6).

Member of Copenhagen University's North/South Research Coordination Group, 1995-2002.

Board Member, Council on Health Research for Development (Geneva), 1996-2002.

Advisory Board, Max Planck Institute: Law, Organisation, Science and Technology: 2007-11

Scientific Committee, Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims, 2006-2012

Associated Senior Fellow, Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, 2016-2021

Member of selection committee, Bethwell E. Ogot Prize for best book on East Africa, Africa Studies Association, 2015-2017

Council Member, International African Institute, 2014-present



Co-editor of Folk, Journal of the Danish Ethnographic Society, 1981-1993.

Corresponding editor, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 1986-present.

Editorial Board, Health Transition Review, 1990-1997

Editorial Board, Anthropology & Medicine, 1996-present

International Advisory Editorial Board, Handbook of Disability Studies, Sage, 1999

Editorial Advisory Board, Africa. Journal of the International Africa Institute, 2012-present

Co-editor, Journal of Peace and Security Studies, 2015-present

Advisory Board, Medicine Anthropology Theory, 2014-present

Corresponding editor, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 1986-present.


Review work

Referee for articles in Current Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Associations, Africa, African Affairs, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medical Anthropology, Anthropology and Medicine, Social Science & Medicine, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Social Studies of Science, Journal of Disability in Africa, International Journal of African Historical Studies, Critique of Anthropology, Global Public Health, Journal of Refugee Studies, and others.

Reviewer of book proposals and manuscripts for University of California Press, Cambridge University Press, James Currey, Wiley-Blackwell, Palgrave, Berghahn, Routledge, University of Chicago Press, Policy Press, Duke University Press, De Gruyter Oldenbourg.

Reviewer of research and award proposals: MacArthur Foundation, Swiss National Research Council, Austrian Research Council, Wellcome Trust, and others


Professional Awards

Honorary Doctorate, 17, Instituto de Estudios Criticos, Mexico City, 2021

Ester Boserup Award, University of Copenhagen, 2015

New Millenium Book Award 2015, Honorable Mention for Second Chances: Surviving AIDS in Uganda

Honorary Doctorate, Faculty of Arts, University of Zürich, 2014

Einar Hansen Research Fund, Honorary Prize for Humanistic Research, 2013

Scholar for a day, University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Center, September 21, 2009

Amaury Talbot Prize awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain for the most valuable monograph in African anthropology published in 1997.


Major Research Grant Activities (last 12 years)

2009-2013 Preventive medication and healthy ageing (co-recipient), Copenhagen University Center for Healthy Aging, Nordea Foundation

2014-2018 Community Innovation for Healthy Aging (co-recipient), Copenhagen University Center for Healthy Aging, Nordea Foundation,

2009-2013 Changing human security: recovering from armed conflict in northern Uganda (co-recipient), Danish Consultative Committee for Development Research

2011-2014 Improving medicine use for children in Uganda (co-recipient), Danish Consultative Research Committee for Development Research

2011-2022 Building Stronger Universities I, II & III, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2013-2016 Governing transition in northern Uganda: trust and land (co-recipient), Danish Consultative Committee for Development Research 

2013-2018 Post-conflict mobility: challenges and potentials for primary health care in northern Uganda (co-recipient), Consultative Committee for Development Research

2017-2021 Aging as a human condition (co-recipient), Velux Foundations

2019-2023 Imagining gender futures in Uganda (co-recipient), Consultative Committee for Development Research

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