Karin van Bemmel

Karin van Bemmel has a BSc in Clinical Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, and an MSc Cultural Anthropology (Utrecht University). Karin has undertaken fieldwork in Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In her PhD thesis she focused on the conceptualisation of illness in a post-conflict area. The study combined the fields of anthropology, psychology and conflict-studies, focusing on local discourses, support groups and the conceptualisation of nodding syndrome in northern Uganda. 

Nodding syndrome affects thousands of children in northern Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania. Characterised by head nodding and convulsions when eating, children are reported to suffer mental retardation and stunted growth. Little is known about the prognosis, but it is thought to be very debilitating both physically and mentally. So far there is no known cause or cure. The central thesis of the PhD thesis is that we can learn more about afflictions by looking at formative processes through which knowledge is produced. Hence focus is put on the various and distinct (e.g. medical, political, spiritual) discourses that seek to gain insight into nodding syndrome and thus constitute its conceptualisation.

Karin is currently working as a senior researcher at the Verwey-Jonker Instituut, where she focusses on health and health inequalities in the Netherlands. In addition, she is board advisor of Njokuti, a foundation that supports health centers Tanzania and northern Uganda to improve the fate of children and adolescents with mobility handicaps. Furthermore, Karin is chairwoman of the Agnes Uganda Foundation which pays school fees for pupils and students in northern Uganda, who would otherwise not be able to go to school. For the Ugandan Recordings project of Wandering Songs she was involved in documenting over 100 songs in northern Uganda.

Dr. K. (Karin) van Bemmel
Former research staff
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Nodding syndrome : an illness in the making
K.L. van Bemmel; E. Aalten
Type of Publication: Audiovisual

The quest for treatment : the violated body of nodding syndrome in northern Ugenda.
K.L. van Bemmel
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Nodding syndrome or disease? : on the conceptualization of an illness-in-the-making
K.L. van Bemmel; I. Derluyn; K. Stroeken
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Obama made in Kenya : appropriating the American dream in Kogelo
K.L. van Bemmel
Type of Publication: Journal Article
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