Catherine Trundle

Dr Catherine Trundle profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Social and Cultural Studies


Teaching in 2019


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., Gibson, H., & Bell, L. (2018). Vulnerable articulations: the opportunities and challenges of illness and recovery. Anthropology and Medicine. doi:10.1080/13648470.2017.1381228

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 2019