Professor David Parkin
- Islam and medicine, with particular reference to Swahili-speaking peoples of East Africa; and religion and healthcare among the Giriama and Luo of Kenya.
- Language development and cross-cultural semiosis of the senses (Easten Africa and China).
- Redefining Materiality in anthropology (from objects to human density and scale).
Advisory role on external bodies
- International Assessor. Committee for the New Millennium Book Award in Medical Anthropology (American Anthropological Association). 2006-9.
- Member of Le Comité International d’Orientation Scientifique et Stratégique (COSS) du Collège de France, Paris. Appointed by the Ministry of Education, France. Consists of twelve international scholars to assess research and teaching at the Collège de France across all its disciplines. 2007-2012.
- Nuffield Foundation Council on Bioethics. Member of working party on the ethics of research related to healthcare in developing countries. 1998-May 2002, month of publication of jointly authored Report.
- Royal Anthropological Institute Working Group on the Well-Being Initiative of the Department of Education. 2006; Chair Committee on Anthropology and Language 2013 continuing.
- Co-advisor with Vibha Joshi to the Vice-Chancellor, University of Nagaland, Kohima, India, on the setting up of a new department of anthropology 2004.Journal editorships and editorial board memberships
Journal editorial boards
- Anthropology and medicine (continuing)
- Ethnos (until 2004)
- Multilingua (until 2000)
- Islam and Muslim Societies (Delhi) (Founding Editorial Advisor 2002 continuing)
- Ethnology Minzu Xuekan (Southwestern Minorities University, Chengdu, China) (continuing)
Monograph editorial boards
- Oxford U P (New York) Monographs in Linguistic Anthropology (ed. W. Bright) Until 2004
- Oxford U P (Oxford) Anthropolology Ethnography Series. 1996-c.2002
Editor of four monograph series
Curzon (later Routledge)
- Indian Ocean Studies.
Berghahn: Three Series (from c.1996)
- Methodology and history in anthropology (continuing)
- Fertility, reproduction and sexuality (co-ed with Soraya Tremayne) (until c.2015)
- Epistemologies of healing (co-ed with Elisabeth Hsu) (continuing).