Dr Myfanwy James

Departmental Lecturer in Development Studies

Myfanwy James is a Departmental Lecturer in Development Studies. Her research interests lie in the ethnographic study of power, security and social identity in aid intervention during violent conflict. She focuses on the political dimensions of humanitarian aid in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Myfanwy’s doctoral thesis examined how humanitarians negotiate access with armed groups to work in areas of conflict in North Kivu, eastern DRC. This research explores how people navigate through turbulent political environments in contexts of protracted ‘crisis.’ More recently, Myfanwy has focused on the contested legitimacy of foreign-led clinical research in Africa. From 2020-2021, she was a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she conducted ethnographic research on the politics surrounding an Ebola vaccine trial in Goma, eastern DRC, as well as research into the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare and biomedical interventions in the region. Her current research includes a collaborative oral history project drawing on testimonies from locally hired humanitarians who worked in the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC.

Myfanwy holds a DPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford, and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dr James presenting her work at Medecins Sans Frontieres HQ
Ebolarchive: Listening to the unheard voices of the DRC 10th Ebola outbreak
Experiences of an Ebola vaccine trial in Goma, DRC
Instrumentalising Identity: Médecins Sans Frontières and Humanitarian Negotiations for Access in t...

Dr James teaches on the ‘Core Course in Development Studies’ and the ‘History and Politics foundation’ on the MPhil in Development Studies. Before Oxford, she taught courses on Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Research Students supervised

Journal articles and special issues

James, Myfanwy (with Shelley Susan Lees) (2022) '“Are You Sure It’s Not the Corona Vaccine?” An Ebola Vaccine Trial During COVID-19 in DRC', Medical Anthropology
James, Myfanwy (with Joseph Grace Kasereka, Shelley Lees) (2021) 'The Politics of the Second Vaccine: Debates Surrounding Ebola Vaccine Trials in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo', Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 3(3) 4-13
James, Myfanwy (2021) 'Humanitarian Shapeshifting: Navigation, Brokerage and Access in Eastern DR Congo', Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding


James, Myfanwy (2021) 'Qui chantera la chanson de MSF? Politique de la « proximité » et pratique de l'humanitaire dans l'Est de la RDC'. In Laetitia Atlani-Duault, Jean-Hervé Bradol, Marce Le Pape et Claudine Vidal (eds) Violences Extrêmes: Enquêter, Secourir, Juger 179-199 , Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris
11 June, 2019
ODID academics and students presenting at ECAS2019
Research interests:

Aid; conflict; security; DRC