Browse/search for people

Professor Maria Fannin

Professor Maria Fannin

Professor Maria Fannin
B.A.(Kentucky), M.A., Ph.D.(Wash.)

Professor of Human Geography

Office 2.8N
University Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8928


My research interests include feminist theoretical approaches to health and new medical technologies and empirical research on the ‘tissue economies’ of health and medicine. Current research projects include a collaborative study on the making of the placenta as a scientific object in contemporary midwifery practice and medical research. I am also interested in the social and governmental dimensions of pregnancy and childbirth, and more recently, the intersections of motherhood and entrepreneurialism in the UK.


I came to Bristol in 2006, having completed my Masters and PhD in Human Geography at the University of Washington in Seattle. My Masters and PhD research focused broadly on the spaces and politics of home birth and midwifery, specifically in the United States, Canada and France.

My research continues to focus on the body and health and for the last few years have carried out research projects related to stem cell donation, commercial blood storage, and more recently with a collaborator, Professor Julie Kent, the history of a placenta biobank. My interest in the placenta as an 'object to think with' continues and I am carrying out further archival work on the large-scale collection and study of the placenta as a scientific object. 

In the School, I am currently Human Geography Research Director in the School of Geographical Sciences. I teach a final year undergraduate unit on biopolitics and the bioeconomy, specifically focused on the uses of the human body in health care and the life sciences. We read key texts on the blood and tissue economy, the emergence of commercial and public biobanks of human tissue, conceptual approaches to biocapital, experimentation in the pharmaceutical industry and benefit-sharing for tissue donors. At the Masters level, I co-teach a unit on 'Geographies of Health, Science and Technology.'

Current PhD Supervision:

Molly Bond, 'Synthetic Biology Commodity Substitution and the Deterritorialisation of People and Plants

Sam Berlin, 'Class, Time and Aspiration in a Small Chinese City'

Freya Johnson, 'The Writing-Machine as Method'

Alistair Anderson, 'More-than-Human Geographies of Antibiotic Consumption: Pets, Pet Owners and Societal Drugs'

Alice Beck

I am not recruiting new PhD students for the 2020-2021 academic year.  








  • gender
  • feminist theory
  • STS
  • biobanking
  • human tissue donation



School of Geographical Sciences

Research groups


Selected publications

Read more >

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Edit this profile If you are Professor Maria Fannin, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF