Dr Paola Esposito

Paola Esposito

Departmental Lecturer in Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology; multimodal (visual, performance, graphic) anthropology; images and imagination; sensory perception; education of attention, apprenticeship and skilled practice; Japan (notions of self, aesthetics and religion); transnationalism; the lived body. 


Email: paola.esposito@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Teaching and research interests

Paola’s current research interests lie at the intersection of medical anthropology, visual anthropology and somatic movement practice, focusing on configurations of the lived body across artistic, therapeutic and medical domains. Paola has conducted long-term multi-sited fieldwork on the Japanese-transnational dance and somatic movement approach butoh. She has also worked with performers, makers and skilled practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds. Paola’s research mobilises graphic, audio-visual and performance methods and approaches, contributing to a multimodal anthropology.

As Departmental Lecturer, Paola continues the work she began as an Early-Career Teaching and Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2016-2017. She lectures, tutors and supervises medical anthropology MSc and MPhil students. She has experience teaching and supervising undergraduates in human sciences, social anthropology and the anthropology of Japan. She also teaches ethnographic research methods to doctoral students from a variety of backgrounds, including anthropology, education, geography, primary health care, politics and social policy. Paola is working on promoting visual medical anthropology as a subfield of medical anthropology through the Green Templeton College Medical Anthropology Film & Discussion Group, that she convenes since 2016.




Esposito P. (forthcoming research monograph). Mimesis and metamorphosis in butoh dance: towards an ‘anthropology with art’ for healing. London: Routledge.

Journal articles and book chapters

Esposito P. forthcoming. Reimagining the body-with-chronic pain through an ‘anthropology with butoh dance’: from bodily hylomorphism to somatic morphogenesis, in C. Gatt & P. Loovers (eds) Beyond Perception. London: Routledge.

Esposito, P. (2021). Multimodal Biosocialities, pp. 41-51. In Hsu, E., Esposito, P., Sheppard, P., Ulijaszek S. (eds), Lessons learnt from a Pandemic: COVID-19 in Perspective. Special Issue, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford-online, New Series, 13 (1): 1-75

Esposito, P. and Kasai, T. (2017). Butoh Dance and Noguchi Taiso: Performance and Healing. In Karkou V. and Lycouris S. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Esposito, P. (2017). Body: A Choreographic Journey into Salvador Dalí’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus. In Harkness, R. (eds) An Unfinished Compendium of Materials. Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen.

Esposito P. (2016). Thread: Somatic Lives of a Thing. M/C Journal of Media and Communication-online. Vol. 19 (1). 

Esposito P. (2015). Stepping In and Out of the Picture: A Drawing-based Reflection on Walking Threads. The Unfamiliar: An Anthropological Journal. Vol. 5 (1–2), pp. 95-101.

Esposito, P. and Loovers, JPL (2015). Introducing the Walking Threads Project. The Unfamiliar: An Anthropological Journal. Vol 5 (1-2), pp. 79-83. 

Research videos

Esposito, P., and Dziala, D. (2021). Becoming a Caterpillar: A Multimodal Perspective on Metamorphosis in Butoh Dance. Journal of Embodied Research, 4(1), 4 (25:04). DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/jer.18

Esposito P. (2013). ‘Reborn Always and Everywhere’: Butoh Dance Beyond Japanese Identity (18’). Newsletter of Japan Anthropology Workshop -online. Spring-Summer 2013. 

Special Issues

2021, Hsu, E., Esposito, P, Sheppard, P. and Ulijaszek, S. (eds), Lessons learnt from a Pandemic: COVID-19 in Perspective. Special Issue, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford-online, New Series, 13 (1): 1-75. 

2017, Hsu, E. and Esposito, P. (eds), Anthropology Matters, Especially in Times of Crisis, Special Issue, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford-online, New Series, 9 (2): 192-272. (82 pp.) ISSN: 2040-1876.