Dr. Elizabeth Rahman
Elizabeth Rahman, a social and medical anthropologist, is a Research Associate of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford, tutor for the Department of Continuing Education and examination paper Scrutineer for the A-Level in Anthropology. Elizabeth is currently ESRC GCRF Fellow, Department for International Development, Oxford, heading The Globalization of Wellbeing and Sustainability: a Biosocial Educational Prototype for Peru, Brazil and beyond.
Elizabeth studied Social Anthropology as an undergraduate at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and went on to read her DPhil at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Elizabeth specializes in hands-on, indigenous and applied techniques that cultivate mindfulness in diverse environmental and socio-political settings, with a special focus on Amazonia and rural Spain (Canary Islands). Her doctoral research ‘Made by Artful Practice: Reproduction, Health and the Perinatal Period among Xié River Dwellers of North-Western Brazil’ (2014) examined the repertoire of hands-on perinatal techniques used by the Warekena of tropical Brazil (north-western Amazonia) and how these are used to make particular types of mindful and healthy people adept at living in such an environment.
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford
51 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE. UK
Elizabeth is currently interested in applying biosocial anthropological research to promote wellbeing and sustainability – as part of the curriculum and through outdoor pedagogic approaches – in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Her publications include the edited volume, The Master Plant: tobacco in lowland south America (Bloomsbury 2015) and her chapter therein; the Special Issue of the Journal of Lowland South America SALSA on The Alchemical Person (2016), and a book chapter in Reproductive Cultures: Kinship, Social Practice and Inter-Generational Transmission (eds, S. Pooley and K. Qureshi) Oxford: Berghahn Books, entitled ‘Integrational mythscapes and infant care in northwestern Amazonia’. She has also published a Portuguese language Handbook on Warekena Health for the University of Manaus, Brazil.
She is a native English speaker and also speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and lingua geral (Amazonian lingua franca).
The Globalization of Wellbeing and Sustainability: A Biosocial Educational Prototype for Peru, Brazil and beyond
This research project tackles the Global Challenge of supporting the long-term, equitable and sustainable resilience of indigenous and peasant communities. It documents the customary sustainable lifestyles of indigenous and rural groups of South America, examining their implicit pedagogy and how their models of multispecies wellbeing can be effectively integrated with the Global Sustainable Development Goals and passed onto future generations.
The project includes the publication of an ethnographic monograph that describes and analyses, from a health perspective, a remarkable facet of Amerindian life: the amount of time and effort dedicated to facilitating personal growth, for both oneself and for others. Throughout the life cycle, and especially during early perinatal life, a wide array of 'humorally'-informed hands-on techniques and practices are used to ensure that people achieve their potential to be robust, attentive persons, mindful of their wider environment. Taking as its subject the northwestern Amazonian Brazilian Warekena, the book examines how they manage to achieve this aim. The book engages multidisciplinary audiences by addressing the broader topics of a) indigenous mindfulness practices, in society and when learning, b) inequitable interethnic relations and their transformation over time, c) the passing of sustainable environmental practices across generations.
This project also aims to build dialogues, and open avenues, to pioneer truly holistic education initiatives that have sustainability and wellbeing at their core. The Project is designed to have significant impact on the on-going implementation of holistic educative initiatives, in Peru, Brazil and beyond, and it engages various research users to enable them to do so effectively.