Dr Joanna Cook
is Lecturer in Medical Anthropology at UCL
Joanna Cook has written and lectured on the Anthropology of Ethics, Asceticism, Religion, Buddhism, Fieldwork Methodology, the Gift, Gender, and Medical Anthropology.She has a long-standing research involvement with Thailand. Her earlier research focused on meditation as a monastic activity. Her monograph, Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and Change in Thai Monastic Life, examines meditation in Thailand in detail and explores the subjective signification of monastic duties and ascetic practices focusing particularly on the motivation and experience of renouncers, the effect meditative practices have on individuals and community organization, and gender hierarchy within the context of the monastery.
Dr. Cook's current research examines the introduction of meditation techniques into therapeutic practice in the UK focusing on questions of ethics, well-being and the dialogue between religion and therapy.
She is a co-organizer of two research networks.
Firstly, the 'Detachment Network', which considers detachment and disconnection as keys to new anthropological heuristics: both as a counterpoint to the multidisciplinary extension of metaphors of connection and relationality, and as a way of recasting the limits and contours of what counts in various contexts as a relationship.
Secondly, the Buddhist Ethics Network. This network brings together scholars interested in Buddhist ethics and is developed in collaboration with the Fo Guang Shan, an internationally prolific and proselytizing Taiwanese Buddhist organization.
Dr. Cook is an Academic Associate at The College of Religious Studies, Mahidol University, Bangkok. She is also an Affiliated Scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.
Joanna Cook is the coordinator of The Laboratory for the Ethnography of the UK (LabUK) - a research platform for the study of contemporary British society and culture through an anthropological lens.