Dr Graham Fordham

Senior Lecturer in Social Foundations Medicine,
ANU Medical School
Location - Acton Campus
Medical School, ANU
 02 6125 7864



PhD Anthropology (Adelaide)


I teach  "Qualitative Methodologies in Health Research", "Anthropological Approaches to Health Interventions", and "Anthropological Concepts for Health Research: From Risk to Suffering", in the Master of Culture Health and Medicine degree in the Medical School at the Australian National University, and supervise doctoral research students who are drawing on anthropological methods and theory to conduct research on topics related to health and biomedicine. I have also taught at other Australian universities including: The University of Southern Queensland, Griffith University, Deakin University and The University of Adelaide, and have also taught in Cambodia at Pannasastra University (Phnom Penh) and Webster International University in Thailand. 

Over the past thirty years I have conducted anthropological fieldwork and consultancy throughout much of mainland Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), in the sub-Saharan AIDS belt in Africa and in urban Australia. I have worked on a wide range of development and development health issues including: HIV/AIDS/STIs, developing models for behaviour change, developing models of male risk behaviour, prostitution, reproductive health/adolescent reproductive health, substance abuse (alcohol), the trafficking of women and children, the impact of pornography on children and youth, gender-based violence, street children/child protection, masculinity, gender and youth sexuality. My most recent work concerns an exploration of the muting of critical social science (particularly anthropology) in contexts of biomedical and social science interdisciplinary research in the health and development fields.

My current research interests focus on a critical anthropology of biomedicine and public/global health and on the roles played by these "disciplines" in the surveillance and control of populations in the neoliberal state. Concomitantly I am focusing on a sociology of knowledge construction in the areas of Thai Studies/Southeast Asia Studies, and a new politicization of these “old area studies” disciplines in relation to contemporary health-focused systems of cultural knowledge constructed by researchers working in the global health and development fields, whose primary training and orientation is in the biomedical rather than the social sciences.


Research interests

  • Anthropology Of Development
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 
  • Anthropology 
  • Public Health And Health Services

Current Student Projects:

  • HIV/AIDS and harm reduction amongst Indonesian drug users
  • The impact of anti-retroviral health regimes on the lives of young Taiwanese men
  • An exploration of women’s agency in casual sexual encounters in Tasmania
  • The impact of pornography on the lives and sexual practices of young Chinese men and women
  • An exploration of the lives of Australian transgender youth
  • Traditiona healing practices in Australian Aboriginal communities and an exploration of how biomedicine and other structural "powers" constrain treatment choices

Updated:  18 August 2018/Responsible Officer:  Dean, Medical School/Page Contact:  Webmaster, Medical School