Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Photographer: onbekend

dr. R.P.M. (René) Gerrets PhD

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Room number: C5.11
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15509
    1001 NA  Amsterdam


Extending a career in laboratory science, I studied social anthropology at New York University where I developed a keen interest in African societies and cultures, linguistic anthropology, international development, and the sociocultural and political-economic dimensions of disease, medicine and science.   Early in these studies, malaria became a leitmotiv in my studies, a lens for exploring various sociopolitical phenomena across time and place.   Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania, my dissertation research investigates the recent proliferation of (public-private) partnerships in the domain of international health.   It explores howthe growing dominance of 'partnership'isreshaping malaria research and control efforts, governance and knowledge practices, both on the ground and on the transnational plane.   Presently I am reworking dissertation chapters for publication in peer-reviewed journals and developing postdoctoral research projects.  


In cooperation with members of the fellow group Law, Organization, Society and Technology (LOST) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, I continue to explore the relationship between biomedicine and governance in African contexts.
Jointly with colleagues from the Anthropologies of African Biosciences research group (AAB) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Paris, I am developing a project investigating the material and immaterial legacies of biomedical research in Tanzanian settings.   It uses a combined ethnographic and historic approach to explore malaria research and control efforts across the colonial and post-colonial eras to shed light on the shifting ideological visions underlying these efforts as well as their intended and unintended effects in a field site.  

In collaboration with a newly-formed network of scholars anchored in the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law, I am developing a project exploring the growing role of indicators in global governance.  Promoted to increase transparency and accountability of development interventions, indicators are increasingly influencing the behavior of organizations and actors in the global North and South.   This project will examine how these technologies reshape prevailing thinking and practice in international malaria research and control.


  • UvA-AMMA:


  • Dierickx, S., O'Neill, S., Gryseels, C., Anyango, E. I., Bannister-Tyrrell, M., Okebe, J., ... Peeters Grietens, K. (2017). Community sensitization and decision-making for trial participation: a mixed-methods study from The Gambia . Developing World Bioethics. DOI: 10.1111/dewb.12160 
  • Hörbst, V., Schirripa, P., & Gerrets, R. (Eds.) (2017). Revisiting medical pluralism: an old concept inspiring new theoretical horizons. L'Uomo Società Tradizione Sviluppo, 2017(1). [details] 
  • Hörbst, V., Gerrets, R., & Schirripa, P. (2017). Revisiting medical pluralism. L'Uomo Società Tradizione Sviluppo, 2017(1), 7-26. [details] 


  • Dierickx, S., Gryseels, C., Mwesigwa, J., O'Neill, S., Bannister-Tyrell, M., Ronse, M., ... Peeters Grietens, K. (2016). Factors Associated with Non-Participation and Non-Adherence in Directly Observed Mass Drug Administration for Malaria in The Gambia. PLoS One, 11(2), [e0148627]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148627  [details] 
  • Cremers, A. L., Gerrets, R. P. M., & Grobusch, M. P. (2016). Visual Ethnography: Bridging Anthropology and Public Health. Practicing Anthropology, 38(4), 7.
  • Cremers, A. L., Gerrets, R., Kapata, N., Kabika, A., Birnie, E., Klipstein-Grobusch, K., & Grobusch, M. P. (2016). Tuberculosis patients' pre-hospital delay and non-compliance with a longstanding DOT programme: a mixed methods study in urban Zambia. BMC Public Health, 16, [1130]. DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3771-9  [details] 
  • Gerrets, R. P. M. (2016). Treasure diggers. In P. W. Geissler, G. Lachenal, J. Manton, & N. Tousignant (Eds.), Traces of the Future: An Archaeology of Medical Sciences in Africa (pp. 162-167). Bristol: Bristol Intellect.
  • Gerrets, R. P. M., & Mangesho, P. (2016). The botanical garden. In P. W. Geissler, G. Lachenal, J. Manton, & N. Tousignant (Eds.), Traces of the Future: An Archaeology of Medical Sciences in Africa (pp. 168-173). Bristol: Bristol Intellect.
  • Geissler, P. W., Kelly, A., Mangesho, P., & Gerrets, R. P. M. (2016). Amani. In P. Wenzel Geissler, G. Lachenal, J. Manton, & N. Tousignant (Eds.), Traces of the Future: An Archaeology of Medical Sciences in Africa (pp. 106-173). Bristol: Bristol Intellect.
  • Kingori, P., & Gerrets, R. (2016). Morals, morale and motivations in data fabrication: Medical research fieldworkers views and practices in two Sub-Saharan African contexts. Social Science & Medicine, 166, 150-159. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.08.019  [details] 


  • Cremers, A. L., de Laat, M. M., Kapata, N., Gerrets, R., Klipstein-Grobusch, K., & Grobusch, M. P. (2015). Assessing the consequences of stigma for tuberculosis patients in urban zambia. PLoS One, 10(3), [e0119861]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119861  [details] 
  • Gerrets, R. (2015). Charting the road to eradication: Health facility data and malaria indicator generation in rural Tanzania. In R. Rottenburg, S. E. Merry, S. J. Park, & J. Mugler (Eds.), The world of indicators: the making of governmental knowledge through quantification (pp. 151-187). (Cambridge studies in law and society). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781316091265.007  [details] 
  • Gerrets, R. (2015). International health and the proliferation of "partnerships": (un)intended boost for state institutions in Tanzania? In P. W. Geissler (Ed.), Para-states and medical science: making African global health (pp. 179-206). (Critical global health: evidence, efficacy, ethnography). Durham: Duke University Press. [details] 
  • Gryseels, C., Durnez, L., Gerrets, R., Uk, S., Suon, S., Set, S., ... Peeters Grietens, K. (2015). Re-imagining malaria: heterogeneity of human and mosquito behaviour in relation to residual malaria transmission in Cambodia. Malaria Journal, 14, 165. [165]. DOI: 10.1186/s12936-015-0689-0  [details] 
  • Gryseels, C., Peeters Grietens, K., Dierickx, S., Nguyen Xuan, X., Uk, S., Bannister-Tyrrell, M., ... Erhart, A. (2015). High mobility and low use of malaria preventive measures among the Jarai male youth along the Cambodia-Vietnam border. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 93(4), 810-818. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0259  [details] 
  • Gryseels, C., Uk, S., Sluydts, V., Durnez, L., Phoeuk, P., Suon, S., ... Peeters Grietens, K. (2015). Factors influencing the use of topical repellents: implications for the effectiveness of malaria elimination strategies. Scientific Reports, 5, [16847]. DOI: 10.1038/srep16847  [details] 


  • Aggarwal, S., & Gerrets, R. (2014). Exploring a Dutch paradox: an ethnographic investigation of gay men's mental health. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 16(2), 105-119. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2013.841290  [details] 


  • Cremers, A. L., Janssen, S., Huson, M. A. M., Bikene, G., Bélard, S., Gerrets, R. P. M., & Grobusch, M. P. (2013). Perceptions, health care seeking behaviour and implementation of a tuberculosis control programme in Lambaréné, Gabon. Public Health Action, 3(4), 328-332. DOI: 10.5588/pha.13.0038  [details] 
  • Gryseels, C., Uk, S., Erhart, A., Gerrets, R., Sluydts, V., Durnez, L., ... Peeters Grietens, K. (2013). Injections, Cocktails and Diviners: Therapeutic Flexibility in the Context of Malaria Elimination and Drug Resistance in Northeast Cambodia. PLoS One, 8(11), [e80343]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080343  [details] 


  • Gerrets, R. P. M. (2012). Governing Malaria: How an old scourge troubles precepts in social theory. In Geissler, Wenzel (Ed.), Rethinking Biomedicine and Governance Berlin: Transkript Verlag.


  • Gerrets, R. P. M. (2011). The public of public health: In search of 'civil society' within contemporary malaria control in Africa. Paper presented at Building states and societies in Africa - U Aberystwyth, .

Scientific position

  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (2011-2012): Member scientific committee first EASA medical anthropology network conference on "Medical Pluralism: Techniques, Politics, Institutions", University of Rome - Sapienza.

Media appearance

  • Gerrets, René (06-11-2016): Duitse geesten in de jungle (documentaire L. Stek) [Radio] Duitse geesten in de jungle (documentaire L. Stek).

Journal editor

  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (editor) (2011): Medische Antropologie (Journal).
  • Deville, W.L.J.M. (editor), van der Geest, J.D.M. (editor), Gerrets, R.P.M. (editor), Groen, S. (editor), Meurs, P. (editor) & van der Sijpt, E. (editor) (2011): Medische Antropologie (Journal).

Talk / presentation

  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (invited speaker) (27-11-2014): "‘If a boss is friendly, I want to work better and harder because I feel free’: How management practices shape workplace communication, motivation and performance in a Tanzanian malaria project.", Conference "The Human Factor: Social sciences in global health research", Institute for Troipical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (invited speaker) (16-4-2014): On indicators as a tool of governance in global health: exploring health facility data production on ‘malaria’ in Tanzania., STePS Colloquium, University of Twente, Enschede.
  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (invited speaker) (28-10-2011): "Medical Anthropology and Global Health: Research and teaching experiences from the University of Amsterdam.", STI seminar series, Swiss Tropical Institute (STI), Basel, Switzerland.
  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (invited speaker) (16-8-2011): "If a boss is friendly, I want to work better and harder because I feel ‘free’", Social Science Research Seminar Series, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kilifi, Kenya.
  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (invited speaker) (27-4-2011): Partnership and (dis)empowerment in international health: perspectives from a rural setting in Tanzania, Anthropology and Development Studies Seminar, Irish National University, Maynooth, Ireland.


  • Gerrets, R.P.M. (organiser) (24-11-2014 - 27-11-2014): The Human Factor: Social sciences in global health research, Antwerp, Belgium (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


  • Gryseels, C. (2017). Resistant humans, mosquitos and parasites in Cambodia: Producing contested evidence for malaria elimination strategies in the margins of a repellent trial [details] 
  • Holtrop, T. J. (2017). Questions and Answers: An ethnography of evaluation in Afghanistan [details] 
  • Lasco, G. (2017). Height matters: The making, meanings and materialities of human stature in the Philippines [details] 


  • Gerrets, R. P. M. (2010). Globalizing International Health: The cultural politics of 'partnership' in Tanzanian malaria control
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