Charles L. Briggs (PhD University of Chicago, 1981) Positions Held: Professor of Anthropology, Co-Director of Medical Anthropology Program, Co-Director Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, University of California, Berkeley; is the Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology of the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches social/cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology and folkloristics. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago. His books include The Wood Carvers of Córdova, New Mexico; Learning How to Ask; Voices of Modernity (with Richard Bauman); Competence in performance; Stories in the Time of Cholera (with Clara Mantini-Briggs); Making Health Public (with Daniel Hallin); and Tell Me Why My Children Died (with Clara Mantini-Briggs). He has received such honors as the James Mooney Award, the Chicago Folklore Prize, Edward Sapir Book Prize, the J. I. Staley Prize, the Américo Paredes Prize, the New Millennium Book Award, the Cultural Horizons Prize, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
Jessica Mulligan is associate professor of Health Policy and Management at Providence College. Her research explores economic precarity, racial resentment, and access to insurance coverage in US health reform. She also studies the privatization of the health care system in Puerto Rico and health care providers’ ethics of care post-María. She is the author of Unmanageable Care: An Ethnography of Health Care Privatization in Puerto Rico (NYU Press, 2014) and co-editor (with Heide Castañeda) of Unequal Coverage: The Experience of Health Care Reform in the United States (NYU Press, 2018).
Adia Benton is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Northwestern University, where she is affiliated with the Science in Human Culture Program. Her body of work addresses transnational efforts to eliminate health disparities and inequalities, and the role of ideology in global health. In addition to ongoing research on public health responses to epidemics, including the 2013-2016 West African Ebola outbreak, she has conducted research on the growing movement to fully incorporate surgical care into commonsense notions of “global health.” Her first book, HIV Exceptionalism: Development Through Disease in Sierra Leone, won the 2017 Rachel Carson Prize, which is awarded by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to the best book in the field of Science and Technology Studies with strong social or political relevance. Her other writing has touched on the politics of anthropological knowledge in infectious disease outbreak response, racial hierarchies in humanitarianism and development, and techniques of enumeration in gender-based violence programs.
Because she is interested in establishing dialogue with thinkers outside her field, she writes frequently about these topics on her blog, ethnography911.org, and on twitter (as ethnography911). There, Dr. Benton connects these issues with broader conversations about political economy, race and gender. Her first book, HIV Exceptionalism: Development through Disease in Sierra Leone (University of Minnesota, 2015), explores the treatment of AIDS as an exceptional disease and the recognition and care that this takes away from other diseases and public health challenges in poor countries. Her second book project, tentatively titled Cutting Cures, focuses on the global movement to improve access to quality surgical care in poor countries, using it as a case study for describing and understanding ideological formations in global public health. She is also completing a short book about “remote anthropology” during acute crises like the 2013-15 West African Ebola outbreak.
Elise Andaya is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany (State University of New York). Her research interests lie at the intersection of gender, reproduction, health citizenship, and access to health care in the United States and in Cuba. Her book, Conceiving Cuba: Reproduction, Women, and the State in the Post-Soviet Era (2014) won the Adele E. Clarke Award Best Book on Reproduction from the interdisciplinary group ReproNetwork and received Honorary Mention in the Association for Feminist Anthropology’s Michelle Z. Rosaldo Award for Best First Book in Feminist Anthropology. Her current research examines temporal inequalities and questions of time shape access to, and experiences of, prenatal care for women who work in low-wage service-sector jobs.
Nolwazi Mkhwanazi is a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand, and presently a senior researcher in the Medical Humanities programme at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research). Her research interests revolve around issues concerning life course, kinship and care in Southern Africa. She has conducted research in Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa. Nolwazi is co-editor, with Deevia Bhana, of Young Families: Gender, Sexuality, and Care (In press, HSRC Press).
Erica Prussing is an associate professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Community & Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa. She is a cultural, medical and psychological anthropologist interested in the anthropology of science; health activism; culture and mental health; addiction and its treatment; and indigenous peoples, especially in the United States and Aotearoa/New Zealand. She is currently focused on illuminating how indigenous activists are creativity integrating epidemiology’s scientific credibility into their advocacy for health equity. She is author of White Man’s Water: The Politics of Sobriety in a Native American Community (University of Arizona Press, 2011), and is completing a second book tentatively entitled Quantifying Justice: Epidemiology For and By Indigenous Peoples.
Ayo Wahlberg is Professor MSO at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. Working broadly within the field of social studies of (bio)medicine, his research has focused on traditional herbal medicine (in Vietnam and the United Kingdom), reproductive and genetic technologies (in China and Denmark) as well as health metrics (in clinical trials and global health). In his current project “The Vitality of Disease – Quality of Life in the Making”, funded by the European Research Council (2015-2021), a team of ethnographers are exploring how chronic living forms the everyday lives of millions of people who live with (chronic) conditions throughout the world and has emerged as a therapeutic site. He is the author of Good Quality – the Routinization of Sperm Banking in China (University of California Press), co-editor of Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century (Palgrave MacMillan) co-editor of Southern Medicine for Southern People – Vietnamese Medicine in the Making (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and editor at the interdisciplinary journal BioSocieties (Palgrave Macmillan).
Matthew Wolf-Meyer is the author of The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine and Modern American Life (2012) and Where is the Theory for the World to Come? (2019), and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University. His research focuses on the biology of everyday life – the ways that human biological experiences interact with the expectations of U.S. institutions, and how medicine mediates these frictions. The Slumbering Masses explores how consolidated sleep developed over the 19th century into the basis for sleep medicine in the 20th century, and how this conception of sleep foreclosed other possible ways to sleep while shaping American work, school, and family schedules. His forthcoming book, Unraveling, focuses on neurological disorders and communication, and he is currently working on a project about the history of the use of excrement in American medicine and the rising interest in fecal microbial transplants in the treatment of human microbiomes, entitled The Colony Within.
Danya Glabau is a Visiting Industry Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Science and Technology Studies program in the Department of Technology, Culture, and Society at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Danya’s work is centered in feminist STS and medical anthropology, including work on food allergies, medical activism, cyborgs and feminist cybercultures, and the digital health economy. Her scholarly work appears in Medicine Anthropology Theory, Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, Science as Culture, and the Journal of Cultural Economy. Dr. Glabau’s book-in-progress, Reproducing Safety: Food Allergy Advocacy and the Politics of Care, examines how food allergy activism in the United States is shaped by norms of whiteness, femininity, and the nuclear family ideal. She has also been Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research since 2015 and is the Founder of Implosion Labs, LLC, an ethnography-driven research and consulting group. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Cornell University.
Personal Website: https://danyaglabau.com/
Washington University in St. Louis
I’m a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. My research interests are in reproductive health, global health, kinship and gender, STS, research methods, ethnographic photography, and West Africa. My ethnographic dissertation, titled “Relations of Reproduction: Men, Masculinities, and Pregnancy in Dakar, Senegal,” is an examination of both how organizations like USAID talk about “men’s involvement” in prenatal care and how men in Dakar navigate gendered social expectations and economic barriers in order to support their pregnant partners. I’ve been a member of the Society for Medical Anthropology since 2012 and a longtime advocate for student-workers’ rights, underrepresented minority students, and open-access publication. Now, as Student Representative to the Executive Board, I’m working to remove the institutional obstacles that students face in their own universities and in our professional organizations, not least of which is bullying, harassment, and abuse.
Personal Website: http://www.dickpowis.com
Ex-Officio Members & Staff
Former Director (2000-2012) and Vice-Chair, Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine (joint program with UC Berkeley Anthropology). Areas of research and publication include: Global Health, Asian Medical Systems, Social Theory, Critical Medical Anthropology, Sexuality and Gender, Safe Motherhood, Disaster Recovery, Tibet, Nepal, China and the US.
Dori Beeler received her MA in Socio-Cultural and PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Durham. As a medical anthropologist, her focus is on the intersections between healing and spirituality; health and wellbeing; and healthcare and commodity. She has done extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Britain, investigating Reiki practice with a focus on the practitioner, the client, and medical professionals. Her 2015 thesis and subsequent monograph, An Ethnographic Account of Reiki Practice in Britain, led to a description of the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing within Reiki practice. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame, Dori engaged in a multi-disciplinary project where she conducted laboratory ethnography. Underlying Dori’s work is her interest in an in-depth understanding of the everyday, lived experience of individuals and communities. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health receiving training in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control with a focus on pediatric oncology.
Stephanie Cruz is a doctoral candidate in Medical Anthropology at the University of Washington. Stephanie holds a BA from Stanford University in Anthropological Sciences. She holds a Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Washington. Stephanie’s dissertation focuses on how professional beliefs and behaviors interact and inform policies on cadaver use in continuing medical education. She also works in public health dentistry on qualitative projects researching patient, practitioner, and family perspectives on dental care access for Medicaid populations or children with special health needs. She hopes to become an applied medical anthropologist with the goal of working in interdisciplinary health research teams.
Laura Meek, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of Hong Kong
Laura Meek is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. She researches counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bodily epistemologies, and the politics of healing in East Africa. Laura received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, as well as an M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. Her current book project, Pharmaceuticals in Divergence: Radical Uncertainty and World-Making Tastes in Tanzania, is based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Iringa, Tanzania, and focuses on the proliferation of counterfeits in local biomedical markets. The work that emerges from this research lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, postcolonial studies, and feminist science studies, and grapples with how to theoretically render both radical uncertainty and world making innovation in Africa today. Additional areas of research include the history of medicine and healing across the Indian Ocean world; embodied experimentation and practices of dreaming; and global leprosy elimination campaigns.
I graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. and M.A. in Anthropology in 2008 and 2009. Prior to coming to SMU, I completed a fellowship at city hall in New Orleans, where one of my research projects included assessing mental health services in the city. My dissertation research, which addresses the criminalization of mental illness in New Orleans, was inspired by my earlier research at city hall, where I learned that the largest mental health institution in the city after Hurricane Katrina is Orleans Parish Prison. My interest in mental health and health disparities has led me to investigate how individuals diagnosed with chronic mental illnesses become imprisoned instead of receiving treatment at a hospital, and I hope to analyze how various forms of social support and support networks (or lack of) interplay with these forces.
Elizabeth Wirtz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses on humanitarian aid in relief and development, forced migration, gender-based violence, reproductive health, human-centered technology design, and STEM higher education.
Sydney Yeager is a cultural anthropology doctoral candidate at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Sydney’s dissertation focuses on the use of social media platforms in response to health crises and death, she examines these issues within the context of urban centers and rural areas in the Southern United States. Additional areas of research interest include Neuroanthropology, Health and Religion, Social Media’s impact on Identity, Community, and Social Relationships, Digital Technology and Distraction Related Accidents. Learn more about Sydney and her research at http://sydneyyeager.org or on Twitter: @slyphi