Robert D. SMITH

Robert D. SMITH


Robert D. Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the Geneva Graduate Institute. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Global Health and Social Medicine from King’s College London (2019), and an MA in Anthropology and Sociology from the Geneva Graduate Institute (2022). During his Bachelor’s, Robert conducted research on the history of cancer in India. This concerned how cancer came to be seen as a valid priority for private-philanthropic investment and public health systems’ planning in (post)colonial India. This research drew his attention to the relationship between politics and health, and he chose to further investigate this relationship in his MA research through the case of the Delhi Government’s Mohalla Clinics.

In his PhD, Robert is continuing his work on the Mohalla Clinics in Delhi. Specifically, Robert’s PhD work attempts to understand the relationship between politics and health by asking how health is governed and experienced in Delhi. Ethnographically, his work moves between the clinic, political offices, and public spaces, and draws upon literatures in medical and political anthropology to comprehend these sites.

Before his PhD, Robert worked in professional roles that aimed to bring social science perspectives to public health discussions, including ‘digital health’ and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Currently (2022-2024), Robert is also the co-coordinator of Medical Anthropology Young Scholars, a sub-network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.

  • Smith, Robert D. 2023. “Quantifying Cancer: Metrics, Self-Sustainable Philanthropy, and Tacit Epistemological Ethics in an East Indian Cancer Hospital.” Global Public Health 18(1):2224419. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2023.2224419.
  • Robert D. Smith. 2023. Book Review of At The Limits of Cure, by Bharat Jayram Venkat, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 31(1):106–15. doi: 10.3167/saas.2023.310109.
  • Smith, Robert D. 2022. “Emerging Infrastructures: The Politics of Radium and the Validation of Radiotherapy in India’s First Tertiary Cancer Hospital.” BioSocieties 17(3):415–41. doi: 10.1057/s41292-020-00223-3.
  • Robert D. Smith. 2021. Book Review of Enduring Cancer: Life, Death, and Diagnosis in Delhi, by Dwaipayan Banerjee.Contributions to Indian Sociology, 55(2), 290-294.
  • Smith, Robert D., and Mohandas K. Mallath. 2019. “History of the Growing Burden of Cancer in India: From Antiquity to the 21st Century.” Journal of Global Oncology (5):1–15. doi: 10.1200/JGO.19.00048.

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