Dr Kate Nialla Fayers-Kerr

Teaching and Research Interests

Critical medical anthropology, the senses in ritual therapeutics, African body painting and the anthropology of substances (especially earth), agricultural rituals and practices, Northeast Africa and pastoralism (including anthropological history e.g., Buxton, Evans-Pritchard, Lienhardt etc.), interface between religion and ecology, environmental perception, skilled practice and the work of Tim Ingold.

Kate Fayers-Kerr is a Postdoctoral Associate of the School of Anthropology and was an Early-Career Teaching and Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at the School 2015-2016. Her research interests are shaped by an ongoing attention to issues at the interface of biological and cultural, physiological and psychological, material and social worlds. This is partly a product of her academic training in Archaeology and Anthropology and Medical Anthropology. Kate’s doctoral research continues these interests, where she focused on the therapeutics of body painting among the Mun (Mursi) of Southwest Ethiopia. By paying attention to the techniques, processes and substances used in body painting, rather than the product or meaning of the painted body, Kate’s research details the way healing arts and sociality are inextricably linked to efforts to become consubstantial with or attuned to the local environment.


Kate has tutored undergraduates in Medical Anthropology and the Anthropology of West Africa.



Fayers-Kerr, K. N. forthcoming. Beyond the Social Skin: Healing Arts and Sacred Clays among the Mun (Mursi) of Southwest Ethiopia. New York: Berghahn.

Journal Articles:

Fayers-Kerr, K. N. 2015. Healing earth, Sacred Clay and the Mun. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford-Online 7:270-285.

Fayers-Kerr, K. N. 2012. The ‘Miranda’ & the ‘Cultural Archive’: From Mun (Mursi) lip-plates, to body painting and back again. Paideuma 58:245–259.

Awards and Fellowships (selected)

(2014) Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Fondation Wiener-Anspach), LAMC, l'Université Libre de BruxellesBelgium
(2012) Vice Chancellors Fund, University of Oxford, UK
(2011) Academic Scholarship, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, UK
(2009) Arts and Humanities Research Council, PhD Scholarship, ISCA, University of Oxford, UK


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