Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics

Photographer: Konrad Gös

Ms T. (Tanja) Ahlin

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15509
    1001 NA  Amsterdam
  • T.Ahlin@uva.nl


In her PhD research, Tanja is looking into care provision to the elderly in Indian transnational families. Particularly, she is exploring how everyday information and communication technologies (ICT) are used to provide care to elderly parents by their children living and working abroad as nurses. What happens to care for the parents when their children migrate? More precisely, how are health crisis such as stroke and accidents dealt with? And how can ICTs like (mobile) phone and Skype collapse the distance between family members? Tanja is trying to answer these and other related questions by carrying out extensive fieldwork in Kerala, India, as well as by following transnational families of Kerala nurses around the world.


Tanja received her PhD fellowship through the TransGlobalHealth program, which is a part of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program. Her promotor at UvA is Prof. Dr. Jeannette Pols and her co-supervisors are Dr. Kasturi Sen from Wolfson College (CR), University of Oxford, and Prof. Dr. Koen Peeters from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium.


For several years, most of Tanja's research interests have been related to telemedicine and e-health, online health forums and the impact of the Internet on the relationship between patients and health practitioners. 


Previously, Tanja conducted fieldwork in rural Uttarakhand, North India, where she researched disordered eating in times of socioeconomic and personal development. This fieldwork formed the basis of her Master's thesis at the Health and Society in South Asia program (MAHASSA) which she completed at Heidelberg University, Germany, in 2012. 


Tanja obtained her B.A. in Anthropology from Athabasca University, Canada. She also has a B.A. in translation (English, French, Slovenian), which she received from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and has worked as a translator, editor and publisher.




Medical anthropology; STS; care; global care chains; e-health, m-health and telemedicine; online communication; transnational social space; gender; ageing; modernity and development.

  • TransGlobalHealth, Erasmus Mundus Program, Educational, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission, PhD Grant (3 years), 2013; extended (1 year) by Health, Care and the Body Program Group, AISSR.
  • Graduate Student Paper Prize, awarded by Science, Technology and Medicine special interest group of SMA, AAA, 2016;
  • SMA Travel Student Award to attend the AAA Annual Meeting, 2013;
  • NWO Open Access Grant for the organization of a round table on open access at the SMA-EASA conference, 2013;
  • Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS) at EASA, Travel Stipend for SMA-EASA conference in Tarragona, Spain, 2013;
  • Athabasca University Award in Anthropology, 2009;
  • Athabasca University Honours List, 2009;
  • Athabasca Travel Grant to attend the AAA Annual Meeting, 2009;
  • Athabasca University Undergraduate Outstanding Achievement Scholarship, 2008-2009;
  • Athabasca University Academic Leadership Scholarship, 2007;
  • EUROPRIX European Multimedia Quality Seal for the project “WebPen,” 2008;
  • Slovenian national scholarship “Zois” for talented students, 1999-2007.


  • Ahlin, T. (2017). Only near is dear? Doing elderly care with everyday ICTs in Indian transnational families. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. DOI: 10.1111/maq.12404 


  • Ahlin, T., Nichter, M., & Pillai, G. (2016). Health insurance in India: what do we know and why is ethnographic research needed. Anthropology & Medicine, 23(1), 102-124. DOI: 10.1080/13648470.2015.1135787  [details] 


  • Manderson, L., Davis, M., Colwell, C., & Ahlin, T. (2015). On Secrecy, Disclosure, the Public, and the Private in Anthropology: An introduction to Supplement 12. Current Anthropology, 56(12), S183-S190. DOI: 10.1086/683302  [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (2013). Prehajanje praks zdravljenja in z zdravjem povezanih konceptov med kontinenti in kulturami: Joga v Evropi, anoreksija v Aziji. Glasnik SED, 53(1-2), 25-31. [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (2012). Of Food and Friendship: The Methods to Understanding Eating Disorders in India. Medische Antropologie, 24(1), 41-56.


  • Ahlin, T. (2011). Technology and Cultural (R)evolution: Can Telemedicine Give Power to the Patients? Curare, 34(3), 165-172.


  • Ahlin, T. (Author). (2016). Anthropology of e/m-health and telemedicine: Time to pay attention. Anthropology News.
  • Ahlin, T. (2016). E-care in Kerala. In L. Manderson, E. Cartwright, & A. Hardon (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology (pp. 171-175). (Routledge handbooks). New York: Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781315794198  [details] 


  • Raffaetà, R., & Ahlin, T. (2015). The politics of publishing: debating the value of impact factor in medical anthropology. Anthropology & Medicine, 22(2), 202-205. DOI: 10.1080/13648470.2015.1072301  [details] 


  • Ahlin, T., & Brijnath, B. R. (2012). Telemental Health in Biomedicine and Ayurveda: An Analysis of Online Health Forums in Slovenia and India. In M. Jordanova, & F. Lievens (Eds.), Proceedings of the International eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT Forum for Education, Networking and Business. (pp. 365-379). Luxembourg: International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH).


  • Ahlin, T. (Author), Moyer, E. (Author), & Hoppe, S. (Author). (2016). Slam that #ethnography!. [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (Author), Driessen, A. (Author), Lemos Dekker, N. (Author), & Schühle, J. (Author). (2015). 6th Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS) annual conference. Medicine Anthropology Theory. [details] 
  • Ahlin, T. (2015). [Review of: B. Brijnath (2014) Unforgotten: love and the culture of dementia care in India]. Somatosphere, 2015(December 2). [details] 
  • Ahlin, T. (2015). [Review of: L. Baldassar, L. Merla (2014) Transnational families, migration, and the circulation of care: understanding mobility and absence in family life]. Medicine Anthropology Theory, 2(1), 200-203. [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (Author). (2014). Ontology as an analytical approach to concerns of medical anthropology. Somatosphere. [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (2013). Is there an app for that? Anthropology takes the pulse of e-health. Second Opinion - Society for Medical Anthropology, 1(4), 7-8. [details] 


  • Ahlin, T. (2016): Graduate student paper prize for paper 'only near is dear?'.

Scientific position

  • Ahlin, T. & LI, F. (2016): What is the future of the field-site? Multi-sited and digital fieldwork. Panel co-organizer., Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA), Durham.
  • Ahlin, T. & Braitberg, V. (2012): The (In)equalities of global health: E-health and Telemedicine through the Lens of Critical Medical Anthropology. Panel co-organizer., Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), San Francisco.
  • Ahlin, T. & Brijnath, B.R. (2011): Moving Beyond the Clinic: Tracing the Tidemarks of Technology in Medicine. Chair and panel co-organizer., AAA Annual meeting, Montreal.

Media appearance

  • Ahlin, Tanja (20-03-2015): Tanja Ahlin, antropologinja: Ko vidijo, da nisi vzvišen, si oddahnejo (Tanja Ahlin, anthropologist: When they see you are not arrogant, they are relieved). Interview door Vidner Ferkov, Katerina. [Print] NeDelo. Tanja Ahlin, antropologinja: Ko vidijo, da nisi vzvišen, si oddahnejo (Tanja Ahlin, anthropologist: When they see you are not arrogant, they are relieved). Interview door Vidner Ferkov, Katerina..

Talk / presentation

  • Ahlin, T. (invited speaker) (5-12-2016): Transnational care, Leiden University College.
  • Ahlin, T. (speaker) & Pols, A.J. (speaker) (18-5-2016): Technologie in de zorg: tussen hype en nachtmerrie, Ben Sajet Centrum.
  • Ahlin, T. (invited speaker) (20-4-2015): "Ker so moji otroci v tujini, lahko živim": Ekonomije skrbi v indijskih transnacionalnih družinah ("Because my children are abroad, I am living happily here": Economies of Care in Indian Transnational Families), Invited lecture, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana.
  • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (22-6-2014): Connected care: Everyday ICT use in elderly care provision in Indian transnational families, Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) conference, Edinburgh.
  • Ahlin, T. (speaker) & Nichter, M. (speaker) (24-11-2013): The doctor-patient relationship in the Internet age: Health Practitioners’ Perspective., Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), Chicago.
  • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (13-6-2013): Disrupted Connections: Aging Alone in a World of Networks?, Society of Medical Anthropology and European Society of Social Anthropologists (SMA-EASA), Tarragona, Spain.
  • Ahlin, T. (speaker) (10-6-2013): Informants and/or Friends? Friendship as Method in Medical Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Young Scholars (MAYS), Tarragona, Spain.


  • Ahlin, T. (organiser) & Glabau, D. (organiser) (3-12-2017): Panel "Value and valuation in biomedicine" in Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (organiser), Glabau, D. (organiser) & Sokolova, E. (organiser) (30-8-2017): Panel "Making Medical Innovation Ethical" at Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (organiser) & LI, F. (organiser) (4-7-2016 - 7-7-2016): Panel "What is the future of the field-site? Multi-sited and digital fieldwork" at Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (ASA). (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (participant) (14-3-2014 - 20-3-2014): Wenner-Gren Foundation symposium, Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, Sintra, Portugal (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (participant) (25-2-2014 - 26-2-2014): International conference on Neglected Tropical Diseases (invited discussant), Kochi (Kerala), India (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (participant) (24-11-2013): Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association (AAA), Chicago (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Ahlin, T. (participant) & Raffaetà, R. (participant) (13-6-2013): Society of Medical Anthropology and European Society of Social Anthropologists (SMA-EASA), Tarragona, Spain (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
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