- Professor Francesca Bray
- Professor of Social Anthropology
- Social AnthropologySchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
- 2.05, 58 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9JU
- +44 (0)131 651 3863
- Research Interests
- Material Culture,China and East Asia,Gender regimes,Agriculture and the politics of food,Technology and society
Office hours: by appointment, Room 5.02, 58 George Square
I began my research career working on the history of agriculture and of science, technology and medicine in China. After a wonderful year of ethnographic fieldwork, which I spent in Kelantan, Malaysia splashing through the mud of paddy-fields and learning from farmers how they negotiated the challenges of Green Revolution technology, I expanded my interests to anthropology and issues of rural development. More recently, through my interest in the macro- and micro-politics of everyday technologies (including food, housing, communications and hygiene), I have become involved in collaborative projects not only with anthropologists, historians and development studies specialists, but also with STS scholars, and I have just been elected President of the international Society for the History of Technology (SHOT).
My publications include: The Rice Economies: Technology and Development in Asian Societies (1986; 1994); Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China (1997); and Technology and Society in Ming China, 1368-1644 (2000). More recently I have published on genetically modified crops, on spatial practices and on sustainable landscapes. The Warp and the Weft, a collection on technical illustration and visual representation in China, was published by Brill in 2007. Gender and Technology, a review article comparing anthropological and STS perspectives, is available in the Annual Review of Anthropology (36) 2007. I edited a special issue on 'Constructing intimacy: technology, family and gender in East Asia' in East Asian Science, Technology & Society in 2008. Technology, gender and history in imperial China: great transformations reconsidered will be published by Routledge in 2013. A co-edited book Global Rice: Promiscuity, Knowledge and Power is in press with Cambridge.
For more on my research and teaching interests, and for my online study of California's toilet culture, see http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/bray/
Topics interested in supervising
I am interested in supervising research that looks at the politics and culture of science, technology or medicine, and in particular projects on technologies of everyday life, and on material culture. A special interest is agriculture in the global economy, the politics of food, and related issues like the regulation of GM crops. I am also interested in supervising research on gender regimes. My special areas of expertise are China (or East Asia more generally) and California. Currently and recently supervised PhD topics include: Agrarian movements and rural economies in Highland Ecuador; Transplanting education: Weill-Cornell Medical College in Qatar; The war will go, but the war will stay: land, landmines and livelihoods in Northwest Cambodia; Barefoot technologies: an ethnographic study of learning and skill development in Rajasthan, India; 'To see the world in a grain of rice' -- contesting China's GE rice commercialisation, risk construction and policy-making; City planning and local resistance: the Caltongate project in Edinburgh; Delights in farm guest-houses: Nongjiale tourism, rural development, and the regime of leisure-pleasure in post-Mao China; "Reforming the child: childhood, citizenship and subjectivity in contemporary China".
If you are interested in being supervised by Francesca Bray, please see the links below for more information: