PhD Stanford University
BA Barnard College
My work is situated at the intersection of history of medicine, anthropology, and STS. Most broadly, I am interested in the relationship between capitalism, apparatuses of knowledge production, and theories and practices of care.
My first book, Medicine in the Meantime: The work of care in Mozambique (2018), traces the lives and afterlives of two transnational medical projects -- projects that enacted deeply divergent understandings of what care means, what it does, and who does it.
I am currently working on two projects. The first examines the production of humanitarian data and the practices of forecasting and modeling that these data enable. Specifically, this project examines the adoption of new technologies in humanitarian practice, and asks about the forms of knowledge involved in rendering visible, quantifying, and modeling displacement. The second continues my interest in care work, and the economies and epistemologies that shape it, particularly in the city of Philadelphia.
These interests also inform my teaching, which focuses on the history of global health; the uses and limits of feminist theories of care; the relationship between medicine, care, and capitalism; and critical approaches to ethnography.
I work with students working across the fields of ethnography and anthropology, the history of science and medicine, and STS.
Please note that I am on leave during academic year 2022-23.
Critical global health; humanitarianism and development; history and temporality; the anthropology of biomedicine; material approaches to medical anthropology
Medicine in the Meantime: The Work of Care in Mozambique. Duke University Press. 2018
Read the introduction here.
The objects of critique in Critical Global Health Studies. Medicine Anthropology Theory. May 2019. With Cal Biruk.
- Making Medicines Trustworthy. AllegraLab: Anthropology for Radical Optimism. allegralab.net. September 21. 2022.
- Global health’s durable dreams: Ethnography, “CHWs,” and health without health infrastructures. Africa. 90(1): 95-111. 2020.
- Critical convergences: social science research as global health technology. MAT (Medicine Anthropology Theory). May. 2019.
- Conditions of life in the city: medicine and gendered relations in Maputo JRAI 24(3):1-18. 2018
- The view from the middle: lively relations of care, class, and medical labor in Maputo Critical African Studies 8(3): 278-290. 2016
- Documentary Disorders: Managing Medical Multiplicity in Maputo, Mozambique American Ethnologist 39(3): 545-561. 2012
- Afterlives: Humanitarian Histories and Critical Subjects in Mozambique Cultural Anthropology 27(2): 286-309. 2012
- Ethnography as Political Critique: A review essay. Anthropological Quarterly 85(4): 1209-1228. With João Biehl. 2012.
**If you are unable to access any of my articles, please email me at rmckay_at_sas.upenn.edu -- I will be happy to share a PDF.
- Graduate Group, Department of Anthropology
- Graduate Group, Lauder Institute
- Center for Africana Studies, Faculty affiliate
- Global Health
- History and anthropology of humanitarianism
- Critical approaches to development / Medicine and development
- Political economy of health and medicine
- HSOC 010, Health & Societies: Global Perspectives
- HSOC 206 Doing Good: Understanding Humanitarianism & Global Health
- HSOC 421 Medicine and Development
- HSOC 438 Global Health Technologies
- HSSC 667 Capitalism(s) and Biocapitalism(s)
- HSSC 609 Feminist STS