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Mary Anglin


Retired, not accepting students.


Ph.D., New School for Social Research 1990; M.P.H., California-Berkeley 1994


Medical anthropology, breast cancer/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, cultural anthropology, gender, political economy; Appalachia and U.S., Latin America.Courses Taught

  • ANT 350: Global Perspectives on Human Rights
  • ANT 429: Survey of Medical Anthropology
  • ANT 470G: Regional Ethnographies of North America
  • ANT 490: Ethnographic Research Methods
  • ANT 601: Contemporary Theories in Anthropology
  • ANT 645: Anthropology and Epidemiology
  • ANT 765: Advanced Seminar in Medical Anthropology
  • ANT 766: Gender, Ethnicity, and Health
  • ANT 770: Human Rights in Anthropological Perspective

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:

  1. 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.);
  2. 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.

Selected Publications:
  • 2005   Whose Health? Whose Justice? Examining Quality of Care and Breast Cancer Activism through the Intersections of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class. In Health at the Intersections of Gender, Race, and Class, edited by Amy Schulz and Leith Mullings. Pp. 313-341. New York, NY: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
  • 2004  Erasures of the Past: Culture, Power, and Heterogeneity in Appalachia. Journal of Appalachian Studies vol. 10, nos. 1 and 2: 73-84.
  • 2002  Women, Power, and Dissent in the Hills of Carolina. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  • 2002  Lessons from Appalachia in the Twentieth Century: Poverty, Power, and the Grassroots. American Anthropologist vol. 104, no. 2: 565-582.
  • 1998  Feminist Perspectives on Structural Violence. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power vol. 5, no. 2: 145-152.
  • 1998  Dismantling the Master's House: Cancer Activists, Discourses of Prevention, and Environmental Justice. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power vol. 5, no. 2: 183-218.
  • 1997  Policy, Praxis, and Medical Anthropology: Introduction, Symposium on Health Policy and Health Praxis in the United States. Social Science and Medicine vol. 44, no. 9: 1367-1369.
  • 1997  Working from the Inside Out: Implications of Breast Cancer Activism for the Policies and Practices of Biomedicine. Social Science and Medicine vol. 44, no. 9: 1403-1415.
  • 1997  Activist Praxis and Anthropological Knowledge. In Applying Anthropology in the South, edited by James M. Wallace. Pp. 33-42. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.