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Personal profile

Research Interests

Disaster Risk Reduction, Risk Communication, Governance, AI and Robotics in Healthcare, Socially Assistive Robotics, Affective Computing, Politics of Innovation, Technoscientific Imaginaries, Anthropology, Ethnography, Japan.


I am a social anthropologist specialising in Japanese Studies and Science and Technology Studies. My research focuses on risk, technology and health. I have been the research fellow on the Wellcome Trust funded project “AI and Health” since May 2019 at CBSS, my first postdoctoral appointment. I have recently been awarded a competitive 3-year-long Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science and in January 2022 I started a new project (as Principal Investigator) focusing on the uses of social robots in Japan and the UK and how these affect practices of care. Prior to joining CBSS, I studied for my PhD at UCL Anthropology Department. My thesis was based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork with the populations affected by the Fukushima disaster and my experience volunteering in recreative camps for Fukushima children since 2013. Drawing on my doctoral project, I wrote a research monograph which was published by Routledge in 2021.

My research interests bridge disaster justice, risk communication and governance, AI and robotics in healthcare. I have been lecturing, doing research supervision, leading seminars, organising and chairing workshops and marking dissertations on these topics for the past 5 years at UCL Anthropology Department and at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. I have also been invited as guest lecturer in other universities including the University of Oxford (Anthropology Department) and the University of Manchester (East Asia Studies Department). In 2021 I was seconded to the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development for six months to develop training for line-managers and Principal Investigators to help them manage more effectively their research teams (Concordat Plans). I am currently developing synchronous and asynchronous online and in-person teaching in the Medical School for the intercalated honours degree Bioethics, Law and Society, including on AI ethics, environmental justice and qualitative research methods.

I have been a member of the Usher Institute Research Committee since 2020. In particular, I represent early career researchers (ECRs) and have organised career development roundtables to help ECRs manage better their work-life balance, make sense of the different career paths available to them, and guide them to apply for fellowships and funding schemes.

Finally, I am the Treasurer and Membership Secretary of the Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS), an international academic association concerned with furthering the field of the Anthropology of Japan. Please, send your queries related to JAWS to this email address: jawstreasurer@gmail.com


2022 University of Edinburgh - PgCAP and Fellowship of the HEA

2019 UCL - Ph.D. Social Anthropology, AHRC-funded

2015 University of Oxford - MSc Social Anthropology, Oxford Scholarship

2014 Ca’ Foscari University of Venice - MPhil Japanese Studies

2013 Ritsumeikan - Advanced Japanese Language Course, MEXT/JASSO

2012 INALCO - MSt Japanese Studies, Erasmus Scholarship

2011 Ca’ Foscari University of Venice - BA Law and Economics of East Asia



Fluent in English, French, Japanese, and Italian (native speaker)


Visiting and Research Positions

2022-2023 University of Tokyo, Japan, Visiting Researcher

2022-2023 Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, UK, Visiting Researcher

2016-2017 Kyoto University, Japan, Visiting Researcher




Twitter: @giulia_de_togni


  • GN Anthropology
  • Anthropology
  • Medical Sociology
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • Ethnography
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Anthropology of disasters and polluted environments
  • Risk theory
  • Neoliberal Governmentality
  • Biopolitics
  • Human rights and humanitarian assistance
  • AI
  • Robotics
  • Socially Assistive Robotics
  • AI and robotics technologies in health and social care
  • Roboethics
  • Gender, power and resistance studies
  • Japan
  • East Asia
  • Legal Anthropology
  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Gender
  • Resistance
  • STS
  • Wellcome Trust
  • H Social Sciences (General)


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