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Alison Shaw

BA, DPhil

Senior Research Fellow in Social Anthropology

Alison obtained her degrees from the University of Oxford (B.A. Human Sciences, 1979; D.Phil. Social Anthropology, 1984. Her D Phil research was on Pakistani migration and settlement in the UK.  For her research, she learnt to speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.  On completing her D Phil she was Director of the Asian Language Development Project in Oxford, teaching Urdu and training Urdu speakers as teachers in adult education classes (1984-7). She then taught Social Anthropology at the University of London, Goldsmiths’ College (1991-2), at the University of Oxford (1993-7), at Oxford Brookes University (1997) and in the Department of Human Sciences at Brunel University where she was Lecturer from 1997-2000.  Since 2004, she has been employed as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Her research interests are in ethnicity, ethnic diversity and health; medical anthropology/sociology; social aspects of genetics/genomics; kinship, gender and transnational marriages; South Asian Islam/Islam in Europe and Islamic bioethics. She has done fieldwork in Pakistan and in the UK.  She has completed several research projects with British Pakistani families, updating her first fieldwork by tracing marriage patterns in the second and third generations. Her monographKinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain (Routledge/Harwood 2000) is a classic, landmark ethnography of Pakistani migration and settlement.  With the support of a major grant from the Wellcome Trust UK, she has also done extensive fieldwork in clinical genetics and with Pakistani families attending a UK genetics clinic.  Her latest book, Negotiating Risk: British Pakistani Experiences of Geneticshas just been published by Berghahn Books (2009). For details

She currently supervises PhD students in Public Health and in Social Anthropology. She lectures on migration and health for the MSc in Migration Studies and on social/cultural aspects of fertility, genetics and inheritance for the MSc in Embryology.  She is an external examiner for Human Sciences/Medical Anthropology at Durham University. For the more applied aspects of her research, she holds honorary clinical contracts with two local hospitals, has advised the Genetic Interest Group on the translation of materials about genetics into Urdu (and other languages) and is working on translations of Urdu prenatal and genetics leaflets for use in Oxford hospitals. She also teaches Urdu language classes. For details see:

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