Lisa Allette Brooks

PhD Designated Emphasis in STS

PhD Candidate, South & Southeast Asian Studies
PhD, Designated Emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies
Advisor(s)Robert Goldman and Lawrence Cohen
Degrees M.A. Religious Studies :: University of Colorado Boulder
M.A. African Studies :: Yale University
B.A. Human Biology :: Stanford University
My research focuses on the history and philosophy of Indian medicine, gender, body, and subjectivity in Sanskrit literature, and contemporary transnational Ayurveda. In my dissertation, “Translating Touch in Ayurveda,” I examine touch in the ontology, epistemology, diagnostics, and practice of Ayurvedic medicine in first millennium South Asia and contemporary Kerala. Through examining the philosophy of touch and tactile practices involving human and non-human actors, my dissertation addresses methodologies of translation at the intersections of sensing, knowing and being: the nature of disciplined touch in Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment; gender, purity, power, and social status among a range of medical actors in early India; linkages between Buddhist medical practice and the early schools of Ayurveda; contemporary Ayurvedic physicians' sensory negotiation between classical epistemological authority and biomedical technologies; and human-leech intra-actions in Keralan Ayurvedic leech therapy. Methodologically informed by post-colonial and feminist science and technology studies, sensory studies, multi-species ethnography, and critical theories of gender, sexuality, and agency, my dissertation is based on textual research in Sanskrit and Malayalam as well as two years of ethnographic research in India. Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, I conducted field research in Botswana for my M.A. Thesis in African Studies at Yale, "Rearticulating Relationships Through Song: Music and HIV/AIDS in Botswana," and in the U.S. for my M.A. Thesis in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, "Karma as an Apparatus: The Etiology of Non-normative Genders and Sexualilties in Classical Ayurveda." After graduating from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology, I was a singer-songwriter, touring nationally and releasing four full-length albums. 

 

Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, I conducted field research in Botswana for my M.A. Thesis in African Studies at Yale, "Rearticulating Relationships Through Song: Music and HIV/AIDS in Botswana," and in the U.S. for my M.A. Thesis in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, "Karma as an Apparatus: The Etiology of Non-normative Genders and Sexualilties in Classical Ayurveda." After graduating from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology, I was a singer-songwriter, touring nationally and releasing four full-length albums. 

last updated: September 27th, 2018