Concerns about the relationship between gender, ethnicity, race, structures of oppression, and practices of resistance and agency inform my work in anthropology—both ethnographic studies of North America, and research located in the intersections of medical anthropology and public health. Through ethnographic research on reproductive cancers, for example, I examine social and political economic structures through which health disparities are produced, as well as the ways that women engage social networks, community practices, and notions of social justice to contest inequities in treatment. In conjunction with exploring particular questions in medical anthropology, such work necessarily investigates the relationship between contemporary states, situated in global economies, and daily life as it is experienced in particular geographic and cultural settings.
Interests and SpecialtiesEthnographic research in North America: rural Southern Appalachia, urban West Coast of the United States. Substantive emphases: culture, power, and political economies; the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and (trans)nationality; women's health, with emphasis on reproductive cancers and HIV disease; environmental contamination and risks to health and livelihood; and the combining of anthropological and critical epidemiologic perspectives in the study of illness, health care, and public health.
Research ProjectsRecent projects include: 1) ethnographic research on popular forms of activism in the arena of women's health, with ongoing interest (1992 to present) in activists' redefinition of risk and treatment for breast cancer, as well as more recent focus (2001- 2006) on differential access to care for poor women and women of color diagnosed with breast cancer; 2) analysis of an eighteen month ethnographic study (May 2000-December 2001) focused on female adolescents of color residing in public housing, as part of an ongoing HIV prevention study targeting "high risk" youth; and 3) research combining quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine heightened rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality as an example of health disparities in Central Appalachia (September 2003-December 2004).
Current activities include:
ethnographic research on popular forms of activism in women’s health, with long-term interest (1992-present) in activists’ redefinition of risk and treatment for breast cancer, and more recent work on differential access to care for poor women and women of color diagnosed with breast cancer (urban U.S.);
analysis of ethnographic research on female adolescents of color in public housing, one of the foci for an HIV prevention study (urban U.S.).
Future research will look at small-scale farming—or community-supported agriculture—in Southern Appalachia, with emphases on the gendered relations of livelihood, health, and local/regional economies.