About the researcher

Molly Hales is a recent graduate of the Joint UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley PhD program in Medical Anthropology. She is currently completing medical training as part of a dual-degree MD/PhD in the UCSF Medical Scientist Training Program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Some of the results of this project can be found in the article “Animating Relations: Digitally Mediated Intimacies between the Living and the Dead,” published by Cultural Anthropology in May 2019.

Prior to beginning this project, Molly worked with native communities in southwestern Alaska on indigenous healing programs. Her work resulted in a chapter in the edited volume Metrics: What Counts in Global Health. She also conducted a year of Fulbright-funded research in South Africa, exploring the gender dynamics of the public primary care clinics.

The idea for the current project emerged from Molly’s experiences losing her own father unexpectedly in August of 2014. Surprised by the extent to which digital technology shaped her and her family’s experience of loss, Molly was interested in using her graduate training to more fully explore this aspect of contemporary mourning.  

Advisory Committee

Ian Whitmarsh                                                                                                                                                                 Ian Whitmarsh’s work explores structural, religious, and psychoanalytic logics in new forms of care. He  offers nuanced understandings of the affective dynamics of relationships between the living and the dead.  Prof.  Whitmarsh is Director of the UCSF side of the joint UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley program in Medical  Anthropology.

Lawrence Cohen                                                                                                                                           Lawrence Cohen has expertise in cultural anthropology and queer theory as well as medical anthropology,  and his extensive body of work includes research into aging and the life course. His current work on  biometrics archives in India has important points of intersection that help inform the project.                  

Daniel Fisher                                                                                                                                                         Daniel Fisher researches indigenous media production in the Northern Territory of Australia. Prof. Fisher's  expertise in anthropologies of media speaks to the technological mediations involved in online relations  with the dead.