Publications and Conference Papers


Pentecost M, Adams V, Baru R, Caduff C, Greene J, Hansen H, Jones D, Kitanaka J, Ortega F. 2021. Revitalising global social medicine. The Lancet,

Lachman A, Berg A, Ross F, Pentecost M. 2021. Infant mental health in southern Africa – nurturing a field. The Lancet,

Cousins T, Pentecost M, Alvergne A, Chandler C, Chigudu S, Herrick C, Kelly A, Leonelli S, Lezaun J, Lorimer J, Reubi D, Sekalala S. 2021. The changing climates of global health. BMJ Global Health,

Pentecost M. 2021. Transitioning societies: Non-communicable disease and ‘the first 1000 days’ in South Africa. In: Epidemiological Change and Chronic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa Social and historical perspectives. Vaughan M, Adjaye-Gbewonyo K and Mika M (eds). London: UCL Press.

Cousins T, Leonelli S, Pentecost M, Sunder-Rajan K. 2020. Situating the Biology of COVID-19: A Conversation on Disease and Democracy. The India Forum.

Pentecost M, and Meloni M. 2020. “It’s never too early”: preconception care and postgenomic models of life. Frontiers in Sociology.

Pentecost M. 2020. War and medicine in Iraq: physicians and the aftermath of empire. In: Book Forum – Omar Dewachi’s Ungovernable Life. Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

Gibbon S, and Pentecost M. 2019. “Introduction: Excavating and (Re)Creating the Biosocial; Birth Cohorts as Ethnographic Object of Inquiry and Site of Intervention.” Somatosphere (blog). November 15, 2019.

Pentecost M, Cousins TD. 2019. ‘The Good Doctor’: the Making and Unmaking of the Physician Self in Contemporary South Africa. Journal of Medical Humanities.

Pentecost M, Ross FC. 2019. The First Thousand Days: Motherhood, Scientific Knowledge, and Local Histories, Medical Anthropology, DOI:10.1080/01459740.2019.1590825

Pentecost M. 2018. Field notes in the clinic: on medicine, anthropology and pedagogy in South Africa. BMJ Medical Humanities.

Pentecost M, Gerber B, Wainwright M, Cousins TD. 2018. Critical orientations for humanising health sciences education in South Africa. BMJ Medical Humanities

Pentecost M, Meloni M. 2018. The epigenetic imperative: responsibility for early intervention at the time of biological plasticity. The American Journal of Bioethics. 18:11, 60-62.

Pentecost M, Cousins TD. 2018. The temporary as the future: ready-to-use therapeutic food and nutraceuticals in South Africa. Anthropology Today 34(4): 9-13.

Cousins TD, Pentecost M. 2018. ‘The Second Shift: Informal Economies and Avian Influenza in South Africa.’ Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, July 26, 2018.

Pentecost M. 2018. The First Thousand Days: Epigenetics in the age of Global Health. In: The Handbook of Biology and Society. Meloni M, Cromby J, Fitzgerald D, Lloyd S (eds). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pentecost M, Ross FC, Macnab A. 2018. Beyond the dyad: making DOHaD interventions more inclusive – a brief report. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, Themed Issue: DOHaD Africa 9(1): 10-14.

Pentecost M, Cousins TD. 2017. Strata of the political: epigenetic and microbial imaginaries in post-apartheid Cape Town. Antipode, 49(5): 1368-1384.

Everett-Murphy K, Pentecost M, Muhwava L, Majikela-Dlangamandla B. 2017. The experience of conducting focus group discussions on the topic of gestational diabetes in Cape Town, South Africa. SAGE Research Methods Cases. doi:10.4135/9781526409522.

Ulijaszek SJ, Pentecost M, Marcus C, Karpe F, Frühbeck G, Nowicka P. 2017. Inequality and childhood overweight and obesity: a commentary. Pediatric Obesity, 12(3): 195-202.

Smit W,  Matzopoulos RHunter Adams JPentecost MRother HAlbertyn Z Behroozi FAlaba OKaba Mvan der Westhuizen CShung King MLevitt NSParnell S Lambert EVRICHE members. 2016. Urban Health Research in Africa: Themes and Priority Research Questions.  Journal of Urban Health, 93(4): 722-730.

Pentecost M. 2016. Introduction: The First Thousand Days of Life. Somatosphere series: The First Thousand Days of Life. Available at: 

Pentecost M. 2015. The First Thousand Days of Life: Obesity and Global Health Policy in South Africa. Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity Opinion Paper Series, #09. Available at:

Pentecost M. 2015. Para-States and Medical Science – Making African Global Health (book review), New Genetics and Society, 36(4): 408-410.

Pentecost M. 2015. The Political Ecology of Perinatal Nutrition in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, (6), Suppl 2, S77.

Rajabally MN, Pentecost M, Pretorius O et al. 2013. The Clostridium difficile problem: a South African tertiary institution’s prospective perspective. South African medical journal,103(3), pp.168-72.

Kirsch R, Pentecost M, Hall Pde M, Epstein DP, Watermeyer G, Friederich. 2006. Role of colonoscopic biopsy in distinguishing between Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis. J Clin Pathol, 59(8):840-4.

Conference papers and presentations

The health humanities in Africa: an emerging field. Presented with Thomas Cousins in Stellenbosch University’s Health Humanities Interest Group Series, 3 August 2018.

Life between protocols: the pragmatics of a nutrition intervention in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Presented in the 2017 Trinity Term UBVO Seminar Series, University of Oxford, 18 May 2017.

‘The mother and the child: old images and contemporary imaginaries of African global health’. Conference paper for ‘ Imaginaries of Affliction, Healing and Medicine. Sickness and the Representation of Africa’, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, 22 September 2016.

Digestion, immunity and vitality: nutriceuticals, ready-to-use therapeutic food, and the temporary as the future.’ Conference paper presented with Thomas Cousins at ‘4S/EASST 2016: Science and technology by other means’: joint meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, 2 September 2016.

‘Digestion, immunity and vitality’: nutriceuticals, ready-to-use therapeutic food, and the temporary as the future.  With Thomas Cousins at ASA16: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology’; annual meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, Durham University, 6 July 2016.

‘The First Thousand Days’: Global health and local futures in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Conference paper presented at ‘ASA16: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology’; annual meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, Durham University, 5 July 2016.

Global health and the (re)turn to the maternal: governance of the everyday in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Conference paper presented at ‘Revisiting the Margins: Towards a Praxis for Critical Global Health’, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, 3 June 2016.

The making and unmaking of the physician self in contemporary South Africa. With Thomas Cousins at the Fondation Brocher, Humanising the Health Sciences workshop, 18 May 2016.

Obesity: thinking outside the [responsibility] box. An Osler Health Equity Lecture, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, 17 February 2016.

Ecologies of Abandonment: Epigenetic and Microbial Imaginaries in post-Apartheid Cape Town. With Thomas Cousins at the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity, University of Oxford, 16 November 2015.

Perinatal Nutrition and Obesity: A South African perspective. Paper presented at the Rank Prize Funds: Mini Symposium on Nutrition and Obesity, Grasmere, United Kingdom 19-22 October 2015.

The First Thousand Days, in a World Otherwise: Politics and Potentiality in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Paper presented at Anthropology Southern Africa Conference, University of Potchefstroom, South Africa, 1 September 2015

Ecologies of AbandonmentPaper co-presented with Thomas Cousins at a conference on ‘Disturbing the “normalised quiet of unseen power”: alternative ways of representing violence’, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 31 March – 2 April 2015

The First Thousand Days: Global Health and the Politics of Potential’. Paper presented at the conference ‘Medical Humanities in Africa 2014’ hosted by the University of Cape Town, South Africa, August 2014.

‘Programmed for vulnerability: structural violence and developmental programming in the production of obesity in South Africa’. Paper presented at the Wits Institute for Social And Economic research as part of the conference ‘Body Knowledge: Medicine and the Humanities in Conversation’, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2013.