I work at the intersection of medical anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies. My research is primarily ethnographic and draws on a range of qualitative research methods to understand relations between health, medicine, and society. Currently, I am focussing on the social and ethical implications of innovation in Alzheimer’s disease research through the Innovative Medicines Initiative EPAD project and the MRC Dementias Platform UK.
Before joining the Institute of Public Health at Cambridge, I completed my doctoral training at LSHTM. My PhD, entitled: “Place, need, and precarity in UK mental health care: An ethnography of access” drew together various threads of my previous experience such as my training in psychology, research positions in the field of Global (Mental) Health, and longstanding interest in the sociology and anthropology of psychiatry.
I spent the final semester of my PhD at McGill University’s Division of Social and Cultural Psychiatry as a visiting scholar. Prior to this, I completed my MSc in medical anthropology and sociology at the University of Amsterdam (going on to work at its Centre for Social Science and Global Health), and my first degree was in psychology at the University of Sussex.
I will be supervising medical students taking the Social and Ethical Context of Health and Illness course at Cambridge and have previously taught at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial Collage London, and the Royal College of Art.
My work draws on a range of social theory and ethnographic data to tackle questions about mental health, illness, and care. I am currently interested in developing ideas around notions of pre-clinical conditions in the field of dementia research—not merely as risks or precursors to disease but as new and emergent ways for people to make sense of “the normal” and “the pathological.” I am developing future projects on the theme of temporality, technology, and the life-course in the context of dementia research.
Brenman, N. F. (accepted for publication) “A composite case: Thinking with ‘BME’ categories in UK mental health care” Medical Anthropology Theory.
Brenman, N. F. (in preparation) “From ‘embodied belonging’ to ‘embodied precarity’: socio-materialities of inclusion in the UK’s voluntary care sector.” In Special Issue: Embodied Belonging: In/exclusion, Health Care, and Well-Being in a World in Motion, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.
Cowan, H., Brenman, N. F. and Kühlbrandt, C. 2019. “Re–politicizing public health.” Anthropology Today 35 (1) 28-28.
Brenman, N. F., Hiddinga, H. J. and Wright, B. 2017. “Intersecting Cultures in Deaf Mental Health: An Ethnographic Study of NHS Professionals Diagnosing Autism in D/deaf Children.” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 41 (3) 431-452.
De Vries, D., Eiling, E., Brenman, N., Vermeulen, M. (2018) Collaboration between Key Populations in global partnerships for health and human rights: lessons learned from Bridging the Gaps. Global Public Health 1-14.
Brenman, N. F., Luitel, N. P., Mall, S., & Jordans, M. J. (2014). Demand and access to mental health services: a qualitative formative study in Nepal. BMC International Health and Human Rights 14 (1) 22.
Jordans, M.J., Kaufman, A, Brenman, N. F., et al. (2014) Suicide in South Asia: a scoping review, BMC Psychiatry 14 (1) 358.