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Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson

Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson

Teaching Associate

Affiliated Lecturer


My work focuses on the senses, communication, and social access. It foregrounds the ways that individual histories, bodies, sensorial hierarchies, education, and experiences of formalised care can generate epistemic dissonances/injustices for British people. My anthropology doctorate was awarded by University College London (UCL) in 2018. My thesis, Looking to Listen (ESRC/AHRC multidisciplinary studentship, Public Policy and Heritage), investigated deaf people’s visual-tactile communication resources, as well as institutional reception or resistance to deaf-centred communication practices. My broader research focuses on the ways that social relations contribute to constructions of categories of personhood, and how these definitions inform knowledge-making particularly within systems of care. I employ multimodal methodological approaches to zero in on the components that generate individual understanding, incorporating the ways that embedded perceptions of bodily alterity contribute to epistemic dissonance and inequalities, as well as how communication affordances influence knowledge-making processes and value judgements within health and social care in the UK and internationally.

In 2019, I was an invited lecturer at UFRGS, Porto Alegre (Brazil), delivering an intensive post-graduate/MPhil course on anthropology of bodies and epistemic alterity. This course was part of a two-year grant designed to support collaboration between Medical Anthropologists from the UK and colleagues from Brazil, facilitating a comparative review of lived experiences of disability in both countries and culminating in an early 2020 visit from Brazilian colleagues to the UK to deliver a series of seminars on common themes. I am currently working with Dr. Sahra Gibbon (UCL) to coordinate a 2020-21 UK programme with further visits from Brazilian colleagues, facilitating seminars and workshops around multimodal methodologies, inequality and marginality in various global contexts. In addition to my work at Cambridge, I am an Honorary Research Associate in Anthropology at UCL.

Research Interests

Deafness/Disability; social, sensory, medical, bio-social anthropology; epistemic injustice; communication; affordance theory; linguistic ethnography, and social semiotic multimodality


Postgraduate Supervision

Health, Medicine & Society (HMS) MPhil: Medical Anthropology

Postgraduate Lectures

HMS MPhil - Medical Anthropology: Core Module

HMS MPhil - Medical Anthropology: 'Non-normal': Bodies, (Dis)Abilities, Epistemiologies

Key Publications

Fagan Robinson, Kelly. “The Form that Flattens” in Parkhurst, Aaron and Timothy Carroll, eds.  Medical Materialities: Toward a Material Culture of Medical Anthropology. Routledge, 2019b.

Fagan Robinson, Kelly. "Conscious artistic translanguaging onstage" Applied Linguistics Review 2019a.

(under review) Fagan Robinson, Kelly. “Access or Epistemic dissonance? Divergent ways of knowing in signed-song practices” in special issue: Knowing By Singing proposed for American Anthropologist. Gatt, Caroline and Valeria Lembo, eds.

(in preparation) Fagan Robinson, Kelly & Timothy Carroll, “The material ecologies of legal failure.” Handbook of Failure: Contributions from Sociology and Other Social Sciences. Adriana Mica, Anna Horolets, Mikołaj Pawlak and Paweł Kubicki, eds.