Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Deborah Nadal

Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Visiting Affiliate


CSDE Research Areas:

  • Health of People and Populations

Deborah Nadal is a cultural anthropologist specialized in South Asia, with extensive fieldwork experience in Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan and Delhi. Combining her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian with her academic education as a social scientist, Deborah is currently interested in how people and animals live alongside each other. Her research spans from monkey hunting among foraging societies to dog keeping in the urban setting, through cross-species disease sharing. In fact, Deborah is now working on a 3-year post-Doctoral project on dog-mediated rabies in rural Gujarat and Maharashtra, focusing on the social and cultural determinants of this complex public health issue.


Among her publications: “Pregnant with puppies. The fear of rabies in the slums of New Delhi, India” Medicine Anthropology Theory 5(3), 2018: 130-156; “The real life of holy cows. How photography has turned cows from sacred icons into mundane animals”  Antennae 40, 2017: 67-76; “Le retour de la vache dans les assiettes indiennes” [Cow’s return on Indian plates]. In Manger moral, manger sauvage, edited by S. Dalla Bernardina, CTHS, Paris (in French), 2016: 129-145; “Housing ancestors. The reorganization of living spaces among the Birhor of Jharkhand and Odisha” International Quarterly for Asian Studies special issue Contemporary Indigeneity in India 46(1-2), 2015: 39-58; “Hunting monkeys and gathering identities: Exploring Self-Representation among the Birhor of Central-East India” La Rivista Folklorica 69, 2014: 263-278.


Deborah Nadal holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Verona (Italy), a M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology and Ethnolinguistics from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) and a B.A. in Languages, Cultures and Institutions of Eurasian and Mediterranean Countries (Languages: Hindi and Urdu) again from Ca’ Foscari. In 2015 she was awarded the Hunt Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Wenner Gren Foundation, New York, to work on her first book. In 2017 she received the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Global Fellowship from the European Commission to work on her current research project. Along with her affiliation at the UW’s Center for One Health Research, she is also affiliated with the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow.