Bettina Shell Duncan

Person Profile

Personal Information
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Bettina Shell
Duncan
Faculty
Professor
Contact Information
E-Mail: 
bsd@u.washington.edu
Academic Information
Research Summary: 
Throughout my career I have been conducting mixed method biocultural research on maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. My earlier research focus was on nutrition, immunity and morbidity among nomadic children in Kenya, the health effects of settlement of former nomads. More recently my research has focuses on the study of female genital cutting (FGC). I have examined the cultural context and health consequences of FGC among Rendille women in northern Kenya, as well as debates over medicalization of the practice. Through my work with WHO and UNICEF, I have examined the politics of the international campaign to end FGC, and the implication of adopting a health and human rights framework. I have recently been conducting mixed method research on the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the dynamics of behavior change with respect to FGC in Senegal and The Gambia. This work examines the outcome of various strategies aimed at ending FGC, such as legislation and various community-based interventions, and evaluates their correspondence with leading theories of behavior change. I have recently become involved in an international research consortium, funded for 5 years by the U.K.'s Department of International Development, that will investigate factors influencing decision-making regarding FGC and intervention strategies in 6 African countries.
Discipline: 
Biocultural Anthropology
Medical Anthropology and Global Health
Keywords: 
<p>Maternal and child health, female genital cutting, behavior change theory, integrated qualitative and quantitative study of medical anthropology and global health, field studies in Kenya, Senegal and The Gambia.</p>
Selected Publications
2011
<p>Shell-Duncan, B., Wander, K., Hernlund, Y., and Moreau, A. Dynamics of change in the practce of female genital cutting in Senegambia: Testing predictions of social convention theory. Social Science and Medicine 73: 1275-1283.</p>
2012
<p>Ad Hoc Public Policy Advisory on Female Genital Surgeries in Africa. Seven things to know about female genital surgeries in Africa. Hastings Center Report, No 6: 19-27. DOI: 10.1002/hast.81.</p>
2013
<p>UNICEF (written by Shell-Duncan). Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. New York: UNICEF.</p>
2011
<p>Shell-Duncan, B., Wander, K., Hernlund, Y., and Moreau, A. Dynamics of change in the practice of female genital cutting in Senegambia: Testing predictions of social convention theory. Social Science and Medicine 73: 1275-1283.</p>
2008
<p>Shell-Duncan, B. From Health to Human Rights: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Intervention. American Anthropologist 110 (2): 225-236.</p>
2007
<p>Hernlund, Y., Shell-Duncan, B. Contingency, context and change: Negotiating female genital cutting in The Gambia and Senegal. Africa Today 53(4):43-57.</p>
2006
<p>Shell-Duncan, B., Hernlund, Y. Are there &ldquo;stages of change&rdquo; in the practice of female genital cutting?: Qualitative research findings from Senegal and The Gambia. African Journal of Reproductive Health, special issue on Female Genital Mutilation 10 (2): 57-71.</p>
2001
<p>Shell-Duncan, B. K. The medicalization of female &ldquo;circumcision&rdquo;: Harm reduction or promotion of a dangerous practice? Social Science and Medicine 52: 1013-1028.</p>