Catherine Trundle


Teaching in 2018


ANTH (Hons), MA (VUW), PhD (Cambridge)

Research specialties

My main areas of research centre on:

  • Inequality and wellbeing
  • Contested illness and the politics of proof
  • An anthropology of ethics, specifically responsibility, care, vulnerability, debt and compassion
  • The politics of social inclusion and exclusion
  • Gender, work and the state
  • The anthropology of Oceania and Aotearoa New Zealand

Since 2009 I have  been researching military veterans’ claims for healthcare and the politics of recognition, proof, care and responsibility. Specifically, I examine New Zealand and British nuclear test veterans who seek state recognition, increased healthcare entitlements, and compensation for ill health that they attribute to radiation exposure. I am currently finishing a book manuscript that explores the politics of proof in radiation-related illness claims and the translation work required to make proof efficacious across legal, medical, archival and political spheres. I have also recently begun a new research project that explores economic precarity, debt, housing and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Recent publications


Trnka, S., & Trundle, C. (2017).(Eds.). Competing Responsibilities The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2015 (Ed. with Thomas Yarrow, Matei Candea & Jo Cook). Detachment: essays on the limits of relational thinking. Manchester : Manchester University Press

2014 Americans in Tuscany: Charity, compassion and belonging, Berghahn, New York.

2010 (ed. with Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich). Local Lives: migration and the politics of place. Aldershot: Ashgate.


Trundle, C. J., & Bryers-Brown, T. (2017). Indigenizing military citizenship: remaking state responsibility and care towards Māori veterans' health through the Treaty of Waitangi. AlterNative: an international journal of indigenous peoples, 13(1), 43-50.

Trnka, S., & Trundle, C. (2014). Competing Responsibilities: beyond neoliberal responsibilization. Anthropological Forum 24(2): pp. 136-153

Trundle, C., & Scott, B. (2013). Elusive Genes: nuclear test veterans’ experiences of genetic citizenship and biomedical refusal. Medical Anthropology 32(6): 501-517.

Trundle, C. (2012). Review Essay: Military Citizenship: Emerging and Enduring Relationships between Soldiers and the State. Political and Legal Anthropology Review 35(2): 357–365.

Trundle, C. (2012). The Future of the Social Sciences: On Scientific Value, Impact, Error and Cynicism. New Zealand Sociology. 27(1): 103-110.

Trundle, C. (2011). Searching for culpability in the archives: Commonwealth nuclear test veterans’ claims for compensation History and Anthropology 22(4). 497-511.

Trundle, C., & Kaplonski, C. (2011). Tracing the political lives of archival documents. History and Anthropology 22(4). 407-414.

Trundle, C. (2011). Biopolitical endpoints: Diagnosing a deserving British nuclear test veteran, Social Science & Medicine. 73(6): 882-888.


Trundle, C. J. (2017). Genetic Bystanders: Familial Responsibility and the State's Accountability to Veterans of Nuclear Tests. In S. Trnka, & C. Trundle (Eds.), Competing Responsibilities: The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Trnka, S., & Trundle, C. J. (2017). Introduction. Competing Responsibilities: Reckoning Personal Responsibility, Care for the Other, and the Social Contract in Contemporary Life. In S. Trnka, & C. Trundle (Eds.), Competing Responsibilities: The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2015 (with Matei Candea, Jo Cook and Thomas Yarrow). Introduction. In M. Candea, J. Cook, C. Trundle & T. Yarrow (Eds.).  Detachment: essays on the limits of relational thinking. Manchester : Manchester University Press

2014 (with Ilina Singh and Christian Broer) Fighting to be Heard: Contested Diagnoses  . In A. Jutel & K. Dew (Eds.)., Social Issues in Diagnosis: An Introduction for Students and Clinicians. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

2012 The transformation of compassion and the ethics of interaction within charity practices. In S. Venkatesan & T. Yarrow (Eds) Differentiating development: beyond an anthropology of critique. Oxford: Berghahn Books: pp. 210-226.

2012 Memorialising the Veteran Body: New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans and the Search for Military Citizenship. In K. McSorley (Ed.) War and the Body: Militarisation, Practice and Experience. London: Routledge: 194-209.

2010 Against the gated community: contesting the ‘ugly American dream’ through rural New Zealand dreams. In C. Trundle & B. Bönisch-Brednich (Eds) Local Lives: migration and the politics of place. Aldershot: Ashgate: pp. 31-48.

2010 (with Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich) Introduction: Local Migrants and the Politics of Being in Place, In C. Trundle & B. Bonisch-Brednich (Eds) Local Lives: migration and the politics of place. Aldershot: Ashgate: pp. 1-16.

2009 Romance tourists, foreign wives or retirement migrants? Cross-cultural marriage in Florence, Italy. In M. Benson & K. O'Reilly (Eds) Lifestyle Migration: expectations, aspiration and experiences. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Memberships, appointments and other work

  • Secretary of SOMAA the Society of Medical Anthropology in Aotearoa
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Social Anthropologists in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Fulbright Campus Advisor, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Fulbright New Zealand Scholars Award 2014
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fast Start Grant 2011-2013
  • Economic and Social Research Council, UK, International Training and Networking Opportunities Grant (with Dr Joanna Cook, Dr Matei Candea and Dr Thomas Yarrow) 2009-2010


Teaching in 2018