Denielle A. Elliott
Department of
Profile Research


Affiliated Faculty

Denielle A. Elliott

Health and Society Program


Denielle Elliott received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Simon Fraser University in 2007, specializing in urban anthropology, the politics of medicine and the social study of science and technology. Her work is informed by cultural anthropology, critical geography, and postcolonial studies to explore the intersections of govermentality, spatiality, and biopolitics in both urban Canada and East Africa. Her work engages primarily with theories of the state, subalternity, space, and value, as a way to think through bioscientific and biotechnological practices in colonial and postcolonial settings. Recently she completed a multi-sited, ethnographic study of a HIV prevention clinical trial (PrEP) to consider how space and place figure in the development of AIDS science – from the spatial organization of lab sites in Africa to the geopolitical travels of preventative AIDS scientific knowledge.

In urban Canada she has explored the unintended consequences of a declaration of a public health emergency, focusing on injection drug users and AIDS, in Vancouver’s impoverished inner city community.



This ethnographic project highlighted the ways in which well-intentioned public health and biomedical efforts of the state constitute an extension of surveillance, control and spatial governing reminiscent of colonial forms of domination on the bodies of the urban poor.

She is committed to collaborative and participatory research and has partnered with NGOs, clinicians, scientists, and community members to explore the unintended consequences of bioscientific research on disadvantaged communities.

She is currently developing a new project that explores the politics of water and its links to health in East Africa.

Dr. Elliott also has an interest in experimental ethnographic writing, and the use of creative and visual arts in ethnographic practice. She is a founding member of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography – an interdisciplinary, cyber-collective dedicated to experimental scholarship fusing creative arts and social research.

She has held research funds from British Columbia Medical Services Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation in Anthropological Research.





Anthropology Home York University Admissions Office of the Registrar Library