Andrew McDowell Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology Tulane University

Andrew McDowell

On Leave for Fall 2023
Assistant Professor
402 Dinwiddie Hall


Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2014


Fields of Study: Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, tuberculosis, global health, the anthropology of science; South Asia.

Andrew McDowell is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. He has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Harvard University. His research interests focus on care, contagion, pharmaceuticals, diagnosis, and inequality in North and Western Indian social worlds entangled with tuberculosis. His current book project Breath, contagion, and caste: The intimate poetics of tuberculosis in India takes up the problem of spread. A study of rural Indian families muddling through overlapping atmospheres of airborne infectious disease, growing consumptive aspirations, and caste contagion, it theorizes life touched by spreading, uncultivated affects.

In a second project McDowell considers global health’s role in TB’s dynamic local biologies. Tracing globalized treatment and diagnosis interventions in India, this research examines the human and microbial impact of global health initiatives that aim to manage patients’ access to technologies and medicines, standardize medical practice in Mumbai’s TB clinics, and guide TB-related expertise and knowledge production across India.

His work has appeared in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Ethos, and The Lancet among other venues. A forthcoming piece in Biosocieties, “Dr. Zahir’s Dilemma: Money and Morals in India’s Private Medical Networks” examines for-profit care in Mumbai’s sprawling northern expanses.

Selected Publications:

McDowell, A. 2019 “Chunnilal’s Hauntology: Rajasthan’s ghosts, time going badly, and anthropological voice” in Ethos 47 (4) 501-518.

McDowell, A. 2019 “Dr. Ram’s Triage: Categorization, speculation, and granting access to global health technologies in India private clinics” in Medicine, Anthropology, Theory. 6 (4): 301-314.

McDowell, A., Engel, N., and A. Daftary 2019 "In the eye of the multiple beholders: Qualitative research perspectives on studying and encouraging quality of TB care in India" in Journal of clinical tuberculosis and other mycobacterial diseases 16 (2019): e100111.

McDowell, A., Raizada, N., Khapade, S., Raghuram, R., Sarin, S., Kalra, A., Salhotra, VS., Nair SA, Boehme, C., Deckinger, C. 2018 “’Before Xpert I only had my expertise’: A qualitative study on the utilization and effects of Xpert technology among pediatricians in 4 Indian Cities” in PLoS ONE 13(3): e0193656.

McDowell, A. 2017 “Mohit’s pharmakon: Symptom, rotational bodies, and unregulated pharmaceutical use in Rural Rajasthan” in Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 31 (3) 315-331.

Satyanarayana, S., Kwan, A., Daniels, B., Subbraman, R., McDowell, A. Berquist, S., Das, R., Das, V., Das., Pai, M. 2016 “Use of standardized patients to assess antibiotic dispensing for tuberculosis in pharmacies across India: A cross sectional study” in The Lancet Infectious Disease. 16 (11) 1261-1268.

McDowell, A., Pai, M. 2016 “Treatment as diagnosis and diagnosis as treatment: Empiric.  management of presumptive TB in the Indian private sector.” International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 20 (4) 536-543.

McDowell, A. 2012 “Echoing Silence: Backwardness, Governmentality and Voice in Contemporary India” The Journal of Asian and African Studies. 47 (4) 348-362.