Associate Professor

325 Claudia Cohen Hall
Sign up at https://calendly.com/rmckay-325 or email me to set up an appointment at other times

Education

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. This book is based on research conducted in central and southern Mozambique.

My current research 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.

Finally, an ongoing area of interest is in caregiving labor, particularly as it is shaped by expert practices and technological platforms. Across these fields, I am concerned with the relationships between bodies, knowledge, and place.

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 welcome queries from prospective students interested in working at the intersection of ethnography and anthropology, the history of science and medicine, and STS.

Research Interests

Critical global health; humanitarianism and development; history and temporality; the anthropology of biomedicine; material approaches to medical anthropology

Selected Work

Book:

Medicine in the Meantime: The Work of Care in Mozambique. Duke University Press. 2018

Read the introduction here.

Special issue/section:

The objects of critique in Critical Global Health Studies. Medicine Anthropology Theory. May 2019. With Cal Biruk.

Articles:

**If you are unable to access any of my articles, please email me at rmckay@sas.upenn.edu -- I will be happy to share a PDF.

Affiliations

  • Graduate Group, Department of Anthropology
  • Graduate Group, Lauder Institute
  • Center for Africana Studies, Faculty affiliate

Teaching Fields

  • Global Health
  • History and anthropology of humanitarianism
  • Critical approaches to development / Medicine and development
  • Political economy of health and medicine

Courses Taught

  • 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

Faculty Bookshelf