Heidi Fjeld

Image of Heidi Fjeld
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22850603
Mobile phone +47 99013401
Room 242
Visiting address Fredrik Holst's house
Postal address Postboks 1130 Blindern 0318 Oslo

Academic interests

Heidi Fjeld holds a doctoral degree in social anthropologist and is an associate professor in medical anthropology at Helsam. Her studies of social organization in farming communities in Tibet led her to an interest in how health and medical practices are closely linked to social, cultural, economic and political aspects of people's lives. Central to her professional interests is, on the one hand, the vast cultural variation in how people perceive bodies' constitution, the causes of diseases, good/bad health and relevant treatments, and on the other hand, how these understandings form – and are formed – by social and religious life. Her research interests are divided into three main tracks: 1) health and medicine in the Himalayas (Tibet and Nepal), 2) antibiotic trajectories and antimicrobial resistance in the global south and 3) health and access to services for transmigrants, i.e. people who move temporarily between different places. Within Himalayan anthropology, she works on topics related to the organization of social life, including kinship, marriage, social rank and hierarchies, as well as Tibetan medicine, cosmology and Buddhism. New projects explores perceptions of health and healing, especially in reproductive life, in high mountain areas in the Himalayas, where biomedical health services are limited. Currently, Fjeld leads the RCN funded project From Asia to Africa: Antibiotic trajectory across the Indian Ocean (2020-2025). This project brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, combining methods and perspectives from the humanities, social sciences and medicine to investigate how active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and generic antibiotics are produced, regulated and exported from China and India to Africa, and particularly Tanzania. Fjeld is particularly interested in anthropological perpectives on pharmaceuticals on the one hand, and China as a global health actor, on the other hand. 
Fjeld coordinates Group for Engaged Community Medicine, an interdisciplinary group that develops action-research projects in close collaboration between researchers, users and service providers. The group's main focus is on migration, and in particular health and access to health services for transmigrants in Oslo. Moreover, she is the chair of MAH  (Medical anthropology and Medical History)–seminar series.    


Regional expertise: Tibet, Nepal, Himalaya, China, Norway




Fjeld holds a doctoral degree from the Department of Social Anthropology (2007) with the dissertation 'The Rise of the Polyandrous House: Marriage, Kinship and Social Mobility in Rural Tsang, Tibet.' From 2007-2012 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher and senior researcher at the Section for Medical Anthropology and Medical History at the Institute for Health and Society (UiO), where she worked with Tibetan medicine, the ongoing health reforms in China, HIV and reproduction in Malawi, and biotechnology in Norway. She was also a visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.


Positions held

  • Representative of tenured faculty, advisory board, Helsam 
  • Deputy leader, board of Center for Development and the Environment





Tags: Medical Anthropology, Tibet, Nepal, China, India, Norway


  • Holmes, Seth; Castaneda, Ernesto; Geeraert, Jeremy; Castaneda, Heide; Probst, Ursula; Zeldes, Nina; Willen, Sarah S; Dibba, Yusupha; Frankfurter, Raphael; Lie, Anne Helene Kveim; askjer, john fredrik & Fjeld, Heidi E (2021). Deservingness: migration and health in social context. BMJ Global Health.  ISSN 2059-7908.  ;6:e005107. . doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005107
  • Ciren, Baizhen & Fjeld, Heidi E (2020). Pragmatics of everyday life: A qualitative study of induced abortion among Tibetan women in Lhasa. Health Care for Women International.  ISSN 0739-9332. . doi: 10.1080/07399332.2019.1640702
  • Katenga-Kaunda, Lillian Ziyenda; Iversen, Per Ole; Holmboe-Ottesen, Gerd; Fjeld, Heidi E; Mdala, Ibrahimu & Kamudoni, Penjani Rhoda (2020). Dietary intake and processes of behaviour change in a nutrition education intervention for pregnant women in rural Malawi: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Public Health Nutrition.  ISSN 1368-9800.  23(13) . doi: 10.1017/s1368980020000294 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Lindskog, Benedikte V (2017). Connectedness through separation: Human-nonhuman relations in Tibet and Mongolia, In Jon Henrik Ziegler Remme & Kenneth Sillander (ed.),  Human Nature and Social Life: Perspectives on Extended Sociality.  Cambridge University Press.  ISBN 978-1-107-17920-2.  Kap. 4.  s 68 - 82
  • Nianggajia, XXX & Fjeld, Heidi E (2017). In search of trust and efficacy: Tibetan Medicine in Rebgong, Qinghai, China. Medicine Anthropology Theory.  ISSN 2405-691X.  5, s 46- 72 . doi: 10.17157/mat.4.5.504
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Lindskog, Benedikte V (2015). Ontological separation in the state of continuity: Exploring Tibetan and Mongolian domestic space, In  From Bhakti to Bon. Festschrift for Per Kværne..  The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture.  ISBN 978-82-7099-817-3.  Kapittel 14.  s 209 - 224
  • Chimphamba, Belinda & Fjeld, Heidi E (2014). In search of a face: Childbearing decisions among couples living with HIV from rural southern Malawi. African Journal of AIDS Research.  ISSN 1608-5906.  13(1), s 21- 29 . doi: 10.2989/16085906.2014.886603
  • Førde, Kristin Engh & Fjeld, Heidi E (2013). “I et land langt borte … Forskning om surrogati”. Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0800-336X.  (2)
  • Gombachika, B. Chimphamba; Chirwa, Ellen; Malata, Address; Sundby, Johanne & Fjeld, Heidi E (2013). Reproductive decisions of couples living with HIV in Malawi: What can we learn for future policy and research studies?. Malawi Medical Journal.  ISSN 1995-7262.  25(3), s 65- 71
  • Gombachika, Belinda; Chirwa, Ellen; Sundby, Johanne; Malata, Address; Maluwa, Alfred & Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Marriage Partner Selection by Heterosexual Couples Living with HIV from Rural Southern Malawi. Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research.  ISSN 2155-6113. . doi: 10.4172/2155-6133
  • Gombachika, Belinda; Fjeld, Heidi E; Chirwa, Ellen; Sundby, Johanne; Malata, Address & Maluwa, Alfred (2012). A Social Ecological Approach to Exploring Barriers to Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services among Couples Living with HIV in Southern Malawi. ISRN Public Health.  ISSN 2090-8008. . doi: 10.5402/2012/825459
  • Sagli, Gry; Zhang, JInming; Ingstad, Benedicte & Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Poverty and disabled households in the People’s Republic of China: experiences with a new rural health insurance scheme. Disability & Society.  ISSN 0968-7599.  28(2), s 218- 231 . doi: 10.1080/09687599.2012.699281
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Hofer, Theresia (2011). Women and Gender in Tibetan medicine. Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity.  ISSN 1573-420X.  6(2), s 175- 216 . doi: 10.1163/15734218-12341234 Show summary
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Sagli, Gry (2011). Disability, poverty and health care: Changes in the canji (‘disability’) policies in the history of the People’s Republic of China, In Arne Henning Eide & Benedicte Ingstad (ed.),  Disability and poverty. A global challenge.  Policy Press.  ISBN 978-1-84742-885-1.  Kapittel.  s 31 - 54
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2010). Åpne og lukkede relasjoner sosialitet på tvers av urenhetsforestillinger på landsbygda i Tibet. Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0802-7285.  21(1), s 4- 18
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2008). Pollution and Social Networks in Contemporary Rural Tibet, In Robert Barnett & Ronald Schwartz (ed.),  Tibetan Modernities.  Brill Academic Publishers.  ISBN 978-90-04-15522-0.  Part One.  s 113 - 138
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2008). When Brothers Separate: Conflict and Mediation within Polyandrous Houses in Central Tibet, In Toni Huber & Fernanda Pirie (ed.),  Conflict and Social Order in Tibet and Inner Asia.  Brill Academic Publishers.  ISBN 978-90-04-15817-7.  The Post-Socialist and Reform Eras.  s 241 - 262
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2007). Fra hushold til Hus: om betydningen av jord for analysen av polyandri i Tibet. Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0802-7285.  (3-4), s 266- 277
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2007). Fra hushold til hus. Om betydnignen av jord for analysen av polyandri i Tibet. Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0802-7285.  18(3-4), s 266- 279
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2001). Kampen om et kloster. Dyade.  ISSN 0332-5792.  (3)

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  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2005). Commoners and Nobles. Hereditary Divisions in Tibet. NIAS Press.  ISBN 87-91114-17-9.  170 s.

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  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2015). Gender models and gender practices: Representation of women in the early 20th century Tibetan medical history.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2015). Performing the dirty work: the organisation of labour among menrig in Lhasa and rural Tsang.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2015). The Rise of the Polyandrous House: Reforms and Relatedness in a Central Tibetan Village.
  • Lindskog, Benedikte V & Fjeld, Heidi E (2015). Ontological separation in a state of continuity: Exploring Tibetan and Mongolian domestic space, In  From Bhakti to Bon. Festschrift for Per Kværne..  The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture.  ISBN 978-82-7099-817-3.  kapittel 14.  s 209 - 225
  • Sagli, Gry; Wang, Wei; Ingstad, Benedicte; Fjeld, Heidi E & Zhang, JInming (2014). 西方学者眼中的中国新农合 (The New Rural Health Insurance in China from the Perspective of Western Scholars). 中国残疾人 (Zhongguo canjiren) Disability in China.  (3), s 64- 66
  • Lindskog, Benedikte V & Fjeld, Heidi E (2013). The principle of separation: Socio-ritual houses in Tibet and Mongolia.
  • Sagli, Gry; Wang, Wei; Ingstad, Benedicte; Fjeld, Heidi E & Zhang, Jingming (2013). 西方学者眼中的中国贫困与残疾人家庭 -记中國农村新医疗保险之实现 (The relation between Poverty and Disabled Households in China from the Viewpoint of Western Scholars – Notes on the Implementation of the New Medical Insurance in Rural China). 有人 (You Ren Magazine).  1(4), s 48- 50
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Commercialization of reproduction: The case of transnational surrogacy.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Polyandry in contemporary Tibet: The inherent flexibility of marriage in shifting socio-political contexts.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Poor or Disabled? Negotiating status in rural Qinghai,China.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2012). Sustaining life for others: Surrogate mothers in India.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2011). From nationality to ethnicity: changing minzu policies in People’s Republic of China.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2011). Gifts and returns: Adoption and inter-house relations in Central Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Hofer, Theresia (2011). Women, gender and Tibetan medicine.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E & Sagli, Gry (2011). Poverty, disability and access to health care: a qualitative study from rural China.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2010). Aspects of the body: disability and cultural differences.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2010). Kina. Folket. Historien. Politikken. Kulturen. Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift.  ISSN 0802-7285.  (02-03)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2010). Polyandry and the House: creations of relatedness in post-1980 rural Tsang.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2009). Fra vitenskap til New Age? Religiøse endringsprosesser innen tibetansk medisin.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2009). Struggling to conceive: dealing with infertility in Lhasa.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2007, 17. oktober). Flermanneri blomstrer på landsbygda i Tibet.  NTB, Aftenposten Aften, Nrk nett.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2007). The Rise of the Polyandous House: Marriage, Kinship and Social Mobility in Rural Tsang, Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2005). Domestic conflicts and Social order: Dealing with divorce in post-Mao rural Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2004). Ekteskapsmønstre og Konfliktlinjer: Ko-partneskap i polyandriske ekteskap i rurale Tibet. Show summary
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2004). Fra hushold til Hus: om betydningen av jord i analysen av polyandri i Tibet.
  • Sommerfelt, Tone & Fjeld, Heidi E (2004). Former for sosial forankring (arbeidsgruppe).
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2003). Changing perceptions of hereditary rank - rigs btsog pa in rural Tsang. Show summary
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2003). Modernisation and the revitalisation of tradition in rural Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2003, 12. desember). Polyandri i Tibet. [Radio].  Nrk P2, Verdt og vite.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2002). Antropologi og språk.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2002). Knowledge, Body and Value A study of hereditary social division in rural Central -Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2001). Kunnskap, Kropp og Personkonstruksjon i Tibet.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2001). Utvikling eller utnytting? Åpningen av Kinas vestre regioner. Verdens tak : organ for den Norske Tibetkomitë.  ISSN 0804-4015.  12(2)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2000). Befolkningspolitikk i Kina og Tibet. Verdens tak : organ for den Norske Tibetkomitë.  ISSN 0804-4015.  11(1)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2000). Commoners and Nobles: The Persistence of Hereditary Social Divisions in Lhasa under Communist Rule. Show summary
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (2000). En flukt for Tibet. Dagbladet.  ISSN 0805-3766.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1999). Commoners and Nobles: The persistence of hereditary social divisions in Lhasa under communist rule.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1999). Education in Tibet. Policy and Practice Since 1950 (Bass). Journal of Peace Research.  ISSN 0022-3433.  36(6)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1999). Prisoners of Shangri-la. Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Lopez). Journal of Peace Research.  ISSN 0022-3433.  36(3), s 378- 379
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1999). Språkkamp i Tibet. Motmæle.  ISSN 0809-2109.  15(2)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1999). The Dragon in the Land of Snows. A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 (Shakya). Journal of Peace Research.  ISSN 0022-3433.  36(6)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1998). Representing the Past: Some Perspectives on Change and Continuity in the Former Tibetan Nobility in Lhasa.
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1997). Arne Næss: en militant ikke-volds Gandhist. Verdens tak : organ for den Norske Tibetkomitë.  ISSN 0804-4015.  8(2)
  • Fjeld, Heidi E (1997). Skolesystemet i Lhasa: utfordringer i dagens Tibet. Verdens tak : organ for den Norske Tibetkomitë.  ISSN 0804-4015.  8(1)

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Published Apr. 13, 2011 2:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 25, 2021 10:17 PM