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Sara Davis

Sara (Meg) Davis (Professor)

My current research explores the future of human rights and gender equality in the digital age, through an international collaboration with researchers, lawyers, and civil society groups. In particular, I’m interested in how power inequalities shape digital access, data, algorithms, and governance. I focus on structural power imbalances among countries (data colonialism), languages, genders (digital gender divides), and how these and other inequalities intersect to shape knowledge and visibility.

Through transnational participatory approaches to research, I aim to explore new approaches to community mobilization and knowledge production, and to rethink and apply human rights and feminist intersectional principles in new ways. As an anthropologist, I favor experience-near ethnographic research methods, sometimes complemented by legal, policy or data analysis.

My research interests include technology and human rights, politics of data and indicators, human rights in global governance, civil society, and prevention and response to gendered violence. My past research has included work in China, Grenada, Kenya, and Thailand, among other places.

Academic Profile

I joined CIM in June 2023, having launched the Digital Health and Rights Project as senior researcher at the Global Health Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute. Prior to that, I was a research fellow at New York University’s Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, and a visiting fellow at Fordham University School of Law and Columbia University. I served as the first senior advisor on human rights at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, where I led the process of putting policies and procedures in place to integrate human rights into their portfolio in over 120 countries. I was founding executive director of Asia Catalyst, a human rights group, and China researcher at Human Rights Watch. I earned my MA and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and UCLA. In 2017, I was one of three winners of the International Geneva Award.


Digital Health and Rights Project

Selected Publications


• Davis SLM (2020) The Uncounted: Politics of Data in Global Health, Cambridge University Press.
• Davis SLM (2005) Song and Silence: Ethnic Revival on China's Southwest Borders, Columbia University Press.

Special Issue

2020 Co-edited with Carmel Williams. “Big data, technology, artificial intelligence and the right to health.” Health and Human Rights Journal, vol. 22 no. 2, December.

Book Chapter

2022 “Global health data and indicators: Communicative signs and sites of contest.” In Sridhar Venkatapuram and Alex Broadbent, eds. Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Global Health.
2020 "The persistence of Chinese rights defenders." in Marie-Claire Foblets and others (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology, Oxford Handbooks,

Peer-reviewed articles

2023 Davis SLM with Trang Pham, Irene Kpodo, et al. “Digital health and rights of young people in Ghana, Kenya and Vietnam: A participatory action research study.” BMJ Global Health, 2023;8:e011254.

2022 Yi-Roe Tan, Anurag Agrawal, Malebona Precious Matsoso, Rebecca Katz, Sara L.M. Davis, et. al. “A call for citizen science in pandemic preparedness and response: Beyond data collection.” BMJ Global Health, June. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2022-009389 .

2021 George Ayala, Petros Isaakidis, Laurel Sprague, L. Leigh-Anne Van der Merwe, Sara L.M. Davis, et. al. “Peer and community-led responses to HIV: A scoping study.” PloS ONE, December. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260555.

2020 Sara L.M. Davis. “The Trojan horse: Digital health, human rights, and global health governance”. Health and Human Rights Journal, vol. 22 no. 2, December.

2018 Sara L.M. Davis, Doris Schopper and Julia Epps. "Monitoring interventions to respond to sexual violence in humanitarian contexts", Global Health Governance 12(1): Spring, 34-46.

2017 Sara L.M. Davis, "The uncounted: Politics of data and visibility in global health." International Journal of Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals and human rights special issue, ed. Inga Winkler. Winner of the International Geneva Award 2017

2017 Sara L.M. Davis, William C. Goedel, John Emerson, and Brooke S. Guven. "Punitive laws, key population size estimates, and Global AIDS Response Progress Reports: An ecological study of 154 countries." Journal of the International AIDS Society, 20.1.

2015 Sara L.M. Davis, “Measuring the impact of human rights on health in global health financing.” Health and Human Rights, 17.2: 97-105.

2014 Sara L.M. Davis, “Human rights and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” Health and Human Rights, 16:1: 134-147.

Meg Davis Profile


Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
Room B0.24
University of Warwick

Email:Sara dot Davis at warwick dot ac dot uk