Susan Reynolds Whyte

Susan Reynolds Whyte


Inspired by the philosophy of pragmatism and the methods of ethnography, I do research and research training on contemporary social issues. Overall, I am concerned with attempts by persons and societies to secure well-being, with all the contradictions and uncertainties that entails. My work involves various forms of collaboration with colleagues in Denmark and Africa. For three decades I have been involved in research capacity strengthening projects with universities in Uganda.

Regionally, I have done fieldwork in Tanzania, Kenya, and most extensively in Uganda.

Research areas:

  1. Lifeworlds and the pursuit of well-being: long term fieldwork in Uganda on the pragmatics and management of uncertainty; life course, aging, time and inter-subjectivity.
  2. Gender and generation: shifting patterns of relationship under changing economic, political, epidemiological, and demographic conditions.
  3. Changing human security: hosts and refugees in northern Uganda; tensions and transformations in land access after violent conflict.
  4. Health perceptions and practices: conceptions of body, mind, and person, explanations of misfortune, shifting shapes of sickness, disability, chronic illness, reproductive health.
  5. Composite health care systems: pharmaceuticals between the public and private sectors, policy and practice, management of chronic conditions, ‘social technology’.
  6. Globalization: the movements of ideas, discourses and commodities in the areas of disability and health technologies.


Current research projects:

  • IMAGENU —Imagining Gender Futures in Uganda (Aarhus and Gulu Universities). With the sharp decline in formal marriage, new forms of partnership, home and family are emerging. I am studying the relation of single mothers to the fathers of their children. The research is documented in a film ‘My Child’s Father’ that aims to stimulate debate and reflection in Uganda. It is available at:

    BSU—Building Stronger Universities (Gulu, Aalborg, Roskilde Universities). This programme intends to strengthen research, teaching and community engagement at Gulu, a small government university in northern Uganda. Under the theme, ‘Rights, Resources and Gender’, I am working with the Adjumani Elders Forum to document relations between hosts and refugees.



  • CONSCOV—Consequences of Covid-19 for Youth Reproductive Health in Uganda (Gulu University, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Reproductive Health Uganda). Together with health workers and university students, we are exploring how young people managed reproductive health problems during the long lockdown and after.
  • CONTINUITY—Understanding How Mobility Affects Forcibly Displaced Persons’ Continuity of Chronic Disease Care (Makerere and Juba Universities). With colleagues at Global Health UCPH, I am working with Ugandan researchers to understand how refugees from South Sudan manage the need for chronic treatment of hypertension and diabetes.


Selected recent publications:

Meinert, Lotte and SR Whyte (eds) 2023.This Land is not for Sale: Trust and Transition in Northern Uganda. New York: Berghahn.  Open Access.

Whyte, SR. 2023. Whose aspirations? Intergenerational moves in eastern Uganda. In: M. Amrith, V. K. Sakti, and D.Sampaio (eds) Aspiring in Later Life: Movements Across Time, Space, and Generations. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Muyinda, Herbert and SR Whyte (eds) 2022. Disability and Technology in Africa. Special Issue. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 92 (4).

Whyte, SR. 2022. Virtues and vexations: intimate others caring for elders in eastern Uganda. In: Cheryl Mattingly and Lone Grøn (eds) Imagistic Care: Growing Old in a Precarious World. New York: Fordham University Press.

Oboke, Henry and SR. Whyte. 2020. Anger and bitter hearts: the spread of suicide in northern Ugandan families. Ethnos 85 (4): 612-628.

Whyte, SR. 2020. In the long run: Ugandans living with disability. Current Anthropology 61, Supplement 21: S132-S140

Meinert, Lotte and SR Whyte. 2020. Legacies of violence: the communicability of spirits and trauma in northern Uganda. In: Biosocial Worlds: Anthropology of Health Environments Beyond Determinism. J. Seeberg, A. Roepstorff  and L. Meinert (eds.) London: UCL Press.

Whyte, SR., Michael Whyte, and David Kyaddondo. 2018. Technologies of inquiry: AIDS tests and divination in Uganda. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 8 (1-2): 97-108.

Whyte, SR. 2018. Health. In: Critical Terms for the Study of Africa. G. Desai and A. Masquelier (eds) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lotte Meinert and SR Whyte. 2017. “These things continue”: Violence as contamination in everyday life after war in Northern Uganda. Ethos 45(2): 271-286.

Whyte, SR. (ed) 2014. Second Chances: Surviving AIDS in Uganda. Durham: Duke University Press.












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