Katie Kilroy-Marac

Associate Professor; Associate Chair, Graduate (tri-campus)
MW 373 (Main), AP 334 (St. George)


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Research Keywords: Memory and history, temporality, cross-cultural and transcultural psychiatry, postcolonial transformations, middle figures, regimes of care/caretaking, experimental ethnography, archive-based art, material culture and object worlds, consumerism and consumption-critical lifestyle movements, order and disorder, houses and housing security

Research Region: Senegal, Canada, France, US


Katie Kilroy-Marac received her PhD from Columbia University. Her research the social history of psychiatric thought, the evolution and naturalization of psychiatric categories, and the spaces in which local understandings of illness and suffering come into contact with (Western) psychiatric models. Her first book, An Impossible Inheritance: Postcolonial Psychiatry and the Work of Memory in a West African Clinic (University of California Press, 2019) is based on fieldwork conducted at the Fann Psychiatric Clinic in Dakar, Senegal.  Her current ethnographic research examines the emergence of hoarding as mental disorder, public health hazard, and media spectacle in North America.  Following her interest in how people attempt to craft ethical lives through consumption (and its regulation) has also led her to embark upon a critical investigation of the Tiny House Movement.


Ph.D. (Columbia University, 2010)


  • AAA (American Anthropological Association)
  • AES (American Ethnological Society)
  • SCA (Society for Cultural Anthropology)
  • ASA (African Studies Association)
  • AMHIG (Anthropology and Mental Heath Interest Group)
  • WARA (West African Research Association)



2019                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie. An Impossible Inheritance: Postcolonial Psychiatry and the Work of Memory in a West African Clinic. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Winner of the 2019 Labrecque-Lee Book Prize, awarded by the Canadian Anthropology Society/ La Société canadienne d'anthropologie (CASCA)

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

2022                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “Hoarding and the Substance of Kinship.” Anthropological Quarterly 95(4): 761-784.

2018                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “An Order of Distinction (Or, How to Tell a Collection from a Hoard)” Journal of Material Culture 23(1): 20-38.

2016                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “A Magical Reorientation of the Modern: Professional Organizers and Thingly Care in Contemporary North America.” Cultural Anthropology 31(3): 439-458.

2014                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  “Of Shifting Economies and Making Ends Meet: The Changing Role of the Accompagnant at the Fann Psychiatric Clinic in Dakar, Senegal.” Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 38(3): 427-447.

2014                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  “Speaking with Revenants: Haunting and the Ethnographic Enterprise.” Ethnography 15(2): 255-276.

2013                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  “Nostalgic for Modernity: Reflecting on the Early Years of the Fann Psychiatric Clinic in Dakar, Senegal.” African Identities 11(4): 367-380.

Articles in Edited Volumes

2023                   Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “Topoanalysis: Hoarding, Memory, and the Materialization of Kinship.” In Of Hoarding and Housekeeping : Material Kinship and Domestic Space in Anthropological Perspective, ed. Sasha Newell. Oxford: Berghahn Press.

Editor-Reviewed Publications

2022                  Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “Churning.” Encyclopaedia of Informality: Towards Understanding Social and Cultural Complexity, Vol 3, ed. Alena Ledeneva (Nov 4) https://www.in-formality.com/wiki/index.php?title=Churning_ (Canada)

2021                 Spooner-Lockyer, Kassandra and Katie Kilroy-Marac. “Ten Things about Ghost and Haunting.” Anthropology News (Oct 18) https://www.anthropology-news.org/articles/ten-things-about-ghosts-and-haunting/

2021                 Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “The Legacy of French Colonial Psychiatry.” Africa is a Country (June 3) https://africasacountry.com/2021/06/the-legacy-of-french-colonial-psychiatry  

2020                 Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  “The Fleeting Intimacy of Neighbours.” Les Carnets de Camargo 6 (May) https://camargofoundation.org/index.php?id=491&no_cache=1

2020                 Kilroy-Marac, Katie. “A Letter Unanswered.” Africa is a Country (April 2). https://africasacountry.com/2020/04/a-letter-unanswered 

2014                 Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  “Artifacts of Order and Disorder.”  Medicine Anthropology Theory 1(1):1-3. http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/4062/artifacts-of-order-and-disorder

Book Reviews

2016                Kilroy-Marac, Katie. The Culture of Mental Illness and Psychiatric Practice in Africa, edited by Emmanuel Akyeampong, Allan G. Hill, and Arthur Kleinman. International Journal of African History 49(1):16-17.

2015                Kilroy-Marac, Katie.  Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry, by Matthew M. Heaton. The Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 51(1):100-101.

Graduate Students