Charles L. Briggs (PhD University of Chicago, 1981) has focused primarily on forging entanglements between medical and linguistic anthropology and media studies. Long-standing dialogues with scholars and practitioners of Latin American social medicine and critical epidemiology and critical approaches to health communication inspire his efforts to document, analyze, and challenge the lethal effects of communicative health inequities as they unfold in clinical interactions, public health practice, health communication, epidemiology, health policy, and health-related media circuits. Decades of collaboration with Indigenous people in Venezuela documented unconscionable cholera and rabies epidemics, and work in Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere has been uncomfortably imbricated with pandemics, especially H1N1 (“swine flu”) and COVID-19. His publications include Learning How to Ask, Stories in the Time of Cholera and Tell Me How My Children Died (both with Clara Mantini-Briggs), Making Health Public (with Daniel Hallin), and Unlearning: Rethinking Poetics, Pandemics, and the Politics of Knowledge.
Carolyn Smith-Morris, President-Elect
Southern Methodist University
Carolyn Smith-Morris (PhD University of Arizona, 2001) is a medical anthropologist and professor at Southern Methodist University. Her research documents experiences of chronic disease, particularly diabetes, among Indigenous, migrant, and marginalized communities and contributes to theories of chronicity and decolonization of healthcare. Her books include two monographs (Diabetes Among the Pima: Stories of Survival by U. Arizona Press, and Indigenous Communalism by Rutgers U. Press), two edited volumes (Chronic Conditions, Fluid States, with Lenore Manderson, Rutgers U. Press; and Diagnostic Controversy, Routledge Press). She is also a contributing researcher and author with Cultural Survival in support of Indigenous rights.
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.
Salih Can Aciksoz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research areas include critical disability studies, masculinities, political violence, reproductive technologies, affect, humanitarianism, and the Far Right. He is the author of Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey (University of California Press, 2019), which won the Fatima Mernissi Book Award, which is given by the Middle East Studies Association to the best work in studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. His new project examines the politics of humanitarianism in the militarized and conflict-ridden Turkish/Kurdish/Syrian borderlands.
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/
Erin Koch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. She works at the intersections of cultural and medical anthropology, feminist STS, and interdisciplinary multispecies studies. Erin’s research focuses on global health inequalities with a particular focus on the ways in which human-microbe relationships are experienced and negotiated through health interventions, institutions, and practices at various scales. She is the author of Free Market Tuberculosis: Managing Epidemics in Post-Soviet Georgia. Erin has also conducted research on the relationships between health, protracted displacement, and governmental and non-governmental programs for internally displaced persons in the country Georgia. Her current research examines relationships between plant-human-microbe health and the opportunities community-based organizations generate for understanding and improving local communities, ecologies and wellbeing.
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.
Thurka Sangaramoorthy is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. She is a cultural anthropologist with specific expertise in medical anthropology and social epidemiology. She conducts community-engaged ethnographic research, including rapid assessments, among vulnerable populations in the United States, Africa, and Latin America/Caribbean. Her work is broadly concerned with how everyday experiences of individuals and communities intersect with institutional policies and practices. She has worked at this intersection on diverse topics, including global health and migration, HIV/STD, health system inequities, environmental racism, and critical studies of racialization. She is the author of Treating AIDS: Politics of Difference, Paradox of Prevention (Rutgers, 2014), and co-author of Rapid Ethnographic Assessments: A Practical Approach and Toolkit for Collaborative Community Research (Routledge, 2020). Her current book projects include (1) Afterlives of AIDS (Aevo, University of Toronto Press, forthcoming), based on oral history narratives of older Black women living and aging with HIV in Washington DC, for which she won the 2020 New Directions Prize from the American Anthropological Association General Anthropology Division and (2) Immigration and the Landscape of Care in Rural America, an ethnography of the inherent relations between immigration, health, and rural precarity, using Maryland’s Eastern Shore as a case study, for which she was awarded the Rudolf Virchow Professional Paper Prize by SMA’s Critical Global Health Caucus in 2018. She also routinely writes on issues of racism and health inequities for public audiences, including recent commentaries in Newsweek, Inside Higher Ed, The Conversation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Sapiens.
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.
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
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.
Anika Jugović Spajić is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her interests lie in the intersection of medical anthropology and anthropology of the state. Her dissertation concerns the practices of patient-activists with diabetes and the ongoing negotiations of their positions and caregiving responsibilities in the larger matrix of the public-private healthcare system in Serbia. She is also interested in the interplay between chronicity and politics of pandemics. She sometimes tweets here: @_p_anika.
Alex Nading is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. His research examines the interface of biomedicine, public health, and environmental change in Latin America. He is the author of Mosquito Trails: Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement (University of California Press, 2014). His current research involves ethnographic work with environmental health activists on Nicaraguan sugarcane plantations, and collaborative research on futures, infrastructures, and qualities of life in periurban Managua.
Melissa (Mel) Salm, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of California, Davis
Melissa (Mel) Salm is a PhD candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is currently completing her dissertation on One Health approaches to global health research in Peru. Her doctoral thesis depicts a contemporary moment in the history of infectious disease epidemiology characterized by ecological orientations to disease emergence at “the human-animal-environment interface”. The dissertation also examines the entangled histories of US naval medicine and infectious disease research in Latin American and the Caribbean, thereby drawing critical attention to the legacies of power, empire, and the politics of security that undergird contemporary global health research partnerships across the Americas.
Victoria Sheldon, Anthropology News SMA Contributing Co-Editor
University of Toronto
Victoria Sheldon is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Entitled Vital Bodies, Natural Cures: Moral Quests for Care in Kerala, South India, her dissertation lies at the intersection of medical anthropology, the anthropology of ethics and morality, and political-social histories of the body in South Asia. Based on thirty months of continuous ethnographic fieldwork, she examines how non-professionalized nature cure and herbal healers in Kerala, South India provide care in the midst of a mediatized health crisis of chronic lifestyle diseases. Identifying as public health activists, these healers aim to repair ill bodies, revitalize the toxic environment, and nonviolently respond to moral collapse. Her dissertation examines the historical present of Kerala, while also stepping back to inquire about the human condition: what does it mean for the body to be invoked as the medium of self-healing, as opposed to a static object upon which the norms of medical interventions are written?
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.