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Dr James Staples

Dr James Staples
Reader - Anthropology

Marie Jahoda 137


After completing a first degree in anthropology in 1990 I worked for nearly ten years as a journalist before my ongoing fascination with South India drew me back to SOAS, University of London, to undertake a PhD. Thanks to ESRC and British Academy Fellowships I was able to stay on there for four years after completion as a post-doctoral fellow, broadening out my initial research on the social consequences of leprosy to consider how attitudes towards negatively construed bodily differences in India are shaped by – and shape – ideas about what constitutes human completeness. A further 16-months’ fieldwork in Hyderabad examined how the category of disability is constituted in multiple ways, and how it is experienced by disabled people in their day-to-day interactions. I joined Brunel as a lecturer in January 2007, returning regularly to my original field site to pursue new research on various topics, including food and social mobility, and suicide.


  • PhD Social Anthropology (SOAS, London) 2003
  • BA (Hons) Social Anthropology (SOAS, London) 1990
  • PG Cert (Brunel) 2008


Director of Undergraduate Studies for Social Sciences and Communications

Newest selected publications

Staples, J. and Marsland, R. (2022) 'Grappling with Diversification'. Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 41 (1). pp. 1 - 3. ISSN: 0145-9740

Journal article

Marsland, R. and Staples, J. (2021) 'Diversifying Medical Anthropology'. Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 40 (1). pp. 1 - 2. ISSN: 0145-9740

Journal article

Staples, J. (2020) 'Sacred Cows and Chicken Manchurian: The Everyday Politics of Eating Meat in India'. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press. ISSN 10: 0295747870 ISSN 13: 978-0295747873


Staples, J. (2020) 'Decolonising Disability Studies? Developing South Asia-Specific Approaches to Understanding Disability', in Mehrotra, N. (ed.) Disability Studies in India: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Singapore : Springer Singapore. pp. 25 - 41. ISBN 10: 981152615X. ISBN 13: 978-981-15-2615-2. Open Access Link

Book chapter

Staples, J. (2019) 'Blurring Bovine Boundaries: Cow Politics and the Everyday in South India'. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42 (6). pp. 1125 - 1140. ISSN: 0085-6401 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(39)