Portrait of a male person of color with glasses and dark hair pulled back, wearing a blue shirt.
Dr. Sung-Joon Park   ©Jacqueline Häußler

Dr. Sung-Joon Park

Team Leader

I am an anthropologist specialized in medical anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS), with a regional focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previously, I have conducted research in Uganda, Sierra Leone, and South Africa. My work centers on anthropological studies of Ebola epidemics, examining aspects of mobility, trust, and genomics to contribute to our understanding of the ecology of Ebola viruses. Beyond this, I am interested in the field of planetary health to explore how pathogens behave in degraded environments and how we can study the nonlinear, dynamic, and synergistic health outcomes of changed disease ecologies. A critical goal is to improve our understanding of these dynamics to enable more effective adaptation to the evolving risks of ill health in a changing world.
I adopt a transdisciplinary approach to research, integrating social scientific and life scientific data, methods, and interpretations to enhance our understanding of how epidemics escalate into social emergencies. This approach emphasizes the necessity of continual reflection on the role of science and higher education in an evolving global context. It prompts critical questions: To what extent does transdisciplinarity contribute to addressing, and possibly reducing, the perpetuation of epistemic injustice between researchers and communities? How can a commitment to transdisciplinary diversity encompass multiple worldviews? Moreover, in what ways can decoloniality inform and inspire new paradigms of transdisciplinary collaboration?

Research interests: Ebola outbreaks, Anthropology of Epidemics, Planetary Health, Mistrust, Atmospheres and Emotions, Values and Evaluations.


E-Mail: sung.park@bnitm.de





Park, Sung-Joon ([In Press]). Planetary Health. In K. Eitel & C. Wergin (Eds.), Handbuch Umweltethnologie. Springer VS.

Park, Sung-Joon ([In Press]). Project time, world time, and extra time: Technicization and acceleration in mass HIV treatment programs in Uganda. In U. Beisel, E. Riedke, & R. Rottenburg (Eds.), Translating Technology in Africa. Brill. 

Park, Sung-Joon, et al. 2022 “‚Ebola is a business‘: An analysis of the atmosphere of mistrust in the tenth Ebola epidemic in the DRC.” Critical Public Health;https://doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2022.2128990

Park, Sung-Joon. 2021. “Deadly secret: Situating the unknowing and knowing of the source of the Ebola epidemic in Northern Uganda.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27 (2): 227–44.

Dilger, Hansjörg, and Sung-Joon Park. 2020. “Anthropological Perspectives in Health Emergencies.” In In Control: A Practical Handbook for Professionals Working in Health Emergencies Internationally, edited by Silva Lauffer, and Jonathan Walter, 154–64. Berlin: RKI.

Morisho, Nene, Josepha Kalubi, Sung-Joon Park, and Martin Doevenspeck. 2020. “Same but Different? A Comparison of Ebola Virus Disease and Covid-19 After the Ebola Epidemic in Eastern DRC (2018–20).” African Argumentsafricanarguments.org/2020/04/24/same-but-different-a-comparison-of-ebola-virus-disease-and-covid-19-after-the-ebola-epidemic-in-eastern-drc-2018-20/

Park, Sung-Joon, Nene Morisho, Kennedy Wema Muhindo, Julienne Anoko, Nina Gobat, Hannah Brown, and Matthias Borchert. 2020. “What do adaptations tell us about the production of trust? Shifting the ‘burden of change’ from people to the response.” Humanitarian Exchange: Special feature Responding to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo 22 24–26.

Park, Sung-Joon. 2019. “Thinking-with favorite reads in the anthropology of global health and environmental health.” Curare 42 (1+2):

Park, Sung-Joon. 2017. “’They overworked us’: Humiliation and claims to recognition of volunteer nurses in the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.” Medicine Anthropology Theory 4 (3): 21–40.

Park, Sung-Joon, and Grace Akello. 2017. “The oughtness of care: Fear, stress, and caregiving during the 2000-2001 Ebola outbreak in Gulu, Uganda.” Social Science & Medicine194 60–66.

Park, Sung-Joon. 2012. “Stock-outs in global health: Pharmaceutical governance and uncertainties in the global supply of ARVs in Uganda.” 177–94.

Park, Sung-Joon. 2015. “’Nobody is Going to Die‘: An Ethnography of Hope, Indicators, and Improvisations in the Provision of Access to Treatment in Uganda.” In The World of Indicators, edited by Richard Rottenburg, S. E. Merry, Sung Joon Park, and Johanna Mugler, 188–220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rottenburg, Richard, Sally Engle Merry, Sung-Joon Park, and Johanna Mugler. 2015. The World of Indicators: The Making of Governmental Knowledge Through Quantification. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Park, Sung-Joon. 2014. Pharmaceutical Government: An Ethnography of Stock-Outs and the Institutionalization of Antiretroviral Therapy in Uganda. Halle.

Park, Sung-Joon, and Rene Umlauf. 2014. “Caring as existential insecurity: quarantine, care, and human insecurity in the Ebola crisis.” Somatosphere November 2 (http://somatosphere.net/2014/11/caring-as-existential-insecurity.html):

Behrends, Andrea, Sung-Joon Park, and Richard Rottenburg. 2014. “Travelling Models in African Conflict Management: Translating Technologies of Social Ordering.”


Research Group Medical Anthropology

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