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Dr Christos Lynteris

ERC PI/ Senior Research Associate, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH)


Dr Christos Lynteris received his undergraduate and postgraduate training in social anthropology at the University of St Andrews. He was awarded a PhD in Social Anthropology in 2010 for work on three epidemic crises in modern China and their impact on society and governance. After completing a monograph on Maoist medicine and Confucian ethics at the Centro Incontri Umani in Switzerland, he was awarded an Andrew Mellon & Isaac Newton Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship at CRASSH. His research on marmot hunting on the Russian-Chinese border and the social ecology of plague in the region has led to several peer reviewed articles and a new monograph (in review) on the "Ethnographic Configuration of Plague".

As the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded 5-year project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic, Dr Lynteris is researching plague photography on a regional and global scale.

His work investigates visual representations of outbreaks in China between 1855 and 1959, with a particular focus on the Hong Kong bubonic plague outbreak of 1894 and the Manchurian pneumonic plague outbreak in 1910-11. In comparing the two, his research focuses on the entanglement of visualisation strategies and biopolitical and geopolitical aspects of the epidemics. Of particular interest is the depiction of Chinese migrant workers (so-called "coolies") as carriers of disease, and the representation of "coolie" urban environment and housing as an imagined source of infection.

On a global scale Dr Lynteris' research engages in a comparative analysis, focusing on regimes of visibility and invisibility of plague. The work focuses on the inter-constitution of epistemological and ethical questions and strategies pertaining to how the causes and effects of plague are made visual. Key to the study, is the exploration of the implications of this complex nexus of symbolic and performative practices on ways in which we today visualise epidemics such as Ebola and bird flu.

Research Interests

Medical anthropology, visual anthropology, history of medicine, epidemiology, epidemics, pandemics, plague, SARS, zoonoses, non-human animals, biopolitics, socialist medicine, event theory, state formation, medical visual culture, photography, film, Confucian ethics, self, archive, China, Manchuria, Transbaikalia.

Dr Lynteris is currently PI of the ERC funded 5-year project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic (under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564) which will run from October 2013 to September 2018.

Research Supervision

Alexander Taylor

Emmanuelle Roth


SAN3: Anthropological Theory and Methods: The Frankfurt School

SAN11: Anthropology of Media and Visual Culture:  Visual Media and Medicine

SAN11: Anthropology of Media and Visual Culture:  Media, Vision and Photography

MPhil Paper 3c: Medical Anthropology: Anthropology and Epidemics

Key Publications


2016. Ethnographic Plague: Configuring Disease on the Chinese-Russian Frontier. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2012. The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China: Socialist Medicine and the New Man. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Edited Volumes

2016. (co-edited with Ruth J. Prince). Visual Anthropology Special Issue: Medicine, Photography and Anthropology, Volume 29, Issue 2.

2014. Epidemic Events and Processes. Cambridge Anthropology Volume 32, Number 1, Spring 2014.

2013. (Co-edited with Marc Berdet) Across the Fields. Anthropology & Materialism, Number 1, Autumn 2013.


2016. The Prophetic Faculty of Epidemic Photography: Chinese Wet Markets and the Imagination of the Next Pandemic. Visual Anthropology, Special Issue: Medicine, Photography and Anthropology, Volume 29, Issue 2 (February 2016): 118-132.

2016. (co-authored with Ruth J. Prince) Anthropology and Medical Photography: Ethnographic, Critical and Comparative Perspectives. Visual Anthropology, Special Issue: Medicine, Photography and Anthropology, Volume 29, Issue 2 (February 2016): 101-117.

2016. The Epidemiologist as Culture Hero: Visualizing Humanity in the Age of "the Next Pandemic," Visual Anthropology 29: 1 (January 2016): 36-53.

2014. Jean-Jacques Matignon's Legacy on Russian Plague Research in North-East China and Inner Asia(1898-1910). Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident No. 37 (September 2014): 61-89.

2014. Introduction: The Time of Epidemics. Cambridge Anthropology 32: 1 (Spring 2014) 24-31.

2014. Epidemics as Events and as Crises: Comparing Two Plague Outbreaks in Manchuria (1910–11 and 1920–21) Cambridge Anthropology 32: 1 (Spring 2014) 62-76.

2013. The State as a Social Relation: An Anthropological Critique. Anthopology & Materialism, 1 (Autumn 2014).

2013. Skilled Natives, Inept Coolies; Marmot Hunting and the Great Manchurian Pneumonic Plague (1910-1911). History and Anthropology 24: 3 (August 2013) 303-321.

2011. 'In Memory of Norman Bethune'; Two Exegetic Resurrections of the 'Spirit of Selflessness' in Maoist China. Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies 1: 1 (December 2011) 21-49.

2011. From Prussia to China: Japanese Colonial Medicine and Goto Shinpei's Contribution to the Combination of Medical Police and Local Self-Administration. Medical History 55: 3 (July 2011) 343-347.

Book Chapters

2014. Speaking Marmots, Deaf Hunters: Animal-human semiotic breakdown as the cause of the Manchurian pneumonic plague of 1910-11. In Morten Tønnessen & Kadri Tüür (eds) The Semiotics of Animal Representations. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

2013. State of Exception, Culture of Medical Police: SARS and the Law of No Rights in the People's Republic of China. In Alex Mold and David Reubi (eds.), Health Rights in Global Context: Genealogies and Anthropologies. London. Routledge.


2006. Ernest Gellner. Muslim Society. Alexandria Publications: Athens.

Book Reviews

2016. Agitating Images: Photography against History in Indigenous Siberia. Craig Campbell. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. Anthropologica 58: 1, 124-125.

2015. Communities of Complicity: Everyday Ethics in Rural China. Hans Steinmüller. Oxford: Berghahn, 2013. In Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 21: 3 (September 2015): 693-694.

2013. Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia. Alexander D. King. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011. American Anthropologist 115: 4 (December 2013): 698–699.

2013. Revolutionary Medicine: Health and the Body in Post-Soviet Cuba. P. Sean Brotherton, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. Cambridge Anthropology 31: 1 (March 2013): 163-164.

2011. Biopolitics, Militarism and Development; Eritrea in the 21st Century. David O’Kane & Tricia Redenek Hepner (eds). Oxford: Berghahn, 2009. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17 (December 2011): 891-892.

2011. Speaking of Epidemics in Chinese Medicine: Disease and the Geographic Imagination in Late Imperial China. Marta E. Hanson. London: Routledge, 2011. Social History of Medicine 25: 4 (October 2012): 900-901.


2016. Untimely Ends and the Pandemic Imaginary. Somatosphere (July 8 2016)

2016. Pandemic Heroes: Saving Humankind on the Big Screen. Humanitarian Health Ethics (5 February 2016)

2015. Photographic Plagues. Royal Historical Society: History in the News (March 31 2015)

2012. Obituary to David Riches (1947-2011). Anthropology Today, 28: 2 (April 2012) 26-27.