Dr. Robert Lorway - Biography
Research and teaching interests: medical anthropology; global health; HIV prevention & activism; sexuality, gender & place; social studies of science, technology & epidemiology
Robert Lorway is a medical anthropologist and an associate professor in the Centre for Global Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Medicine. Between 2009 and 2014, he held a CIHR new investigator award in the area of HIV/AIDS services/population health research. His research is concerned with the social study of global health interventions, particularly those that are designed to improve the lives of marginalized populations in Africa and Asia. Theoretically his work attempts to understand how contemporary global health interventions enact forms of governance that shape new modalities of citizenship, community, and subjectivity. At the same time, he grapples with the concrete public health implications of these emergent forms of sociality. Robert’s theoretical engagements are firmly rooted in collaborative projects conducted with members of community-based organizations in Namibia, Kenya, China, and India.
His first book, Namibia’s Rainbow Project: Gay Right in an African Nation, published by Indiana University Press (2014), reveals the long-term effects of a sexual minority rights program that inadvertently subjugated the community of youth that it aimed to liberate. In a second book manuscript, which is in-progress, he examines the mutual constitutions of AIDS activism and science by drawing upon the findings from an array of community research projects conducted over a 22-year period, across three continents. His focus in this project is on the way in which community outreach practices and notions of empowerment, advocacy and social justice are increasingly entangled in biomedical and market-oriented logics
Robert currently leads two major research projects. In the first project (2014-2018), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grants Program, with his co-investigator, Shamshad Khan, he is reconstructing the life history of the Gates-funded HIV Initiative in India known as Avahan and exploring the legacy of philanthrocapitalist discourses on social movements led by sexual minorities. The second project (2013-2015), funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), engages a male sex worker collective in Nairobi in a community-centred knowledge production process to inform the design of interventions in the region and more forcefully position community interests in local and national policy arenas.