Dr Philomena

Dr Philomena Horsley

Senior Trainer, Research Fellow

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Psychology and Public Health

Melbourne (City)

Research centres

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society


PhD, MMedAnth, BA, GradDipWomSt, GradDipEd, GradCertWrtg&Edtg



Area of study

Public Health

Brief profile

Philomena is a medical anthropologist with a broad interest in gender, sexuality, disability, medical practice and mortality.  Her research has included an ethnographic study investigating the decline of the hospital autopsy, the role of HREC administrators in Australia, older women’s experiences of sexual assault, and lesbians' experience of life-threatening illness.  She has expertise in the field of research ethics, and is a long-time member and chair of the Human Research Ethics Committees of Family Planning Victoria and SCOPE Victoria.  In 2001, she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women and was also awarded a Centenary Medal for her previous community-based work in women's health, disability and HIV/AIDS.  

Recent publications

Horsley, P 2012, ‘How dead dead the dead are’: Sensing the science of death, Qualitative Research, 12(5): 540-553

Horsley, P 2011 , Review: What would you do? Juggling bioethics and ethnography, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol 22, no. 2, p.289-90, August

Horsley, P 2011, Review: Gender equity in health: The shifting frontiers of evidence and action, Health and Social Care in the Community  19(1), 106-112

Horsley, P. 2010, Teaching the Anatomy of Death: A Dying Art? Medicine Studies: Volume 2, Issue 1, 1-19

Horsley, P. 2010, ‘Limitations in death: negotiating sentiment and science in the case of the hospital autopsy’, Coleman, EB & White, K. Medicine, Religion, and the Body, Brill, Leiden and Boston

Horsley, P . 2008, Death dwells in spaces – Tales from the hospital mortuary, Anthropology & Medicine, Vol 15, No 2, 133-145

Horsley, P & Dyson, S. 2007, ‘From the outside looking in – illuminating research with lesbians’ in Pitts, M. & Smith, A. Researching the margins: strategies for ethical and rigorous research with marginalised communities, Palgrave Macmillan, London


Research projects

The Norma Project: Preventing the sexual assault of older women

Disability, gender and sexuality: Analysis of the Private Lives 2 data


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