Phone: +1 401 863 3251
Phone 2: +1 401 863 1295
Ph.D. Brown 1991
Medical anthropology, HIV/AIDS, gender and society, ethnicity, refugee issues, development, culture change, political economy; Southeast Asia.
My research focuses on the intersection between political economy, culture, and medicine. My field research began in the United States in health clinics providing for minorities and refugees. There I learned of the problems and concerns of refugee women whose reproductive rights were changing as the results of migration and social change. Further research was conducted with highlanders in the north of Thailand, the Hmong. Reproduction, gender, cosmology and health-seeking behaviour were my main interests, and this led to investigating inequality for highlanders in the majority Thai society and in the patrilineal Hmong system. Further research was conducted in Thailand on Hmong views of migration from rural to urban centers because of Thai efforts to incorporate minorities into the majority system. I was interested how these changes were affecting Hmong cultural dynamics. Further research was conducted on Hmong sexuality and how they and other highlanders could be encouraged to practice prevention in light of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country.
My new project on Hmong will take place in the U.S., where some 200,000 Hmong now live. I plan to investigate the changes that have taken place in Hmong society by investigating how empowerment of women has changed family life and reproductive behaviour.
AN102/BC168/7 "AIDS in International Perspective"
Communities around the world have been affected in different ways by the HIV-AIDS pandemic. This course is an investigation into the ways culture and political economy structure risk of HIV infection and understandings of and responses to HIV/AIDS in the world. Throughout the course we will pay particular attention to gendered power relations and other factors that contribute to women's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. First, we will concentrate on a brief overview of bio/medical understandings of the virus, transmission, treatment, and epiedemiology. Our focus will then turn to the social dimensions of the pandemic. We will consider issues such as risk, blame, sexuality, knowledge vs. behavior, prevention and the role of the social sciences. We will explore these issues in different countries, including the US, Haiti, Thailand and those in Africa.
AN105 "People and Cultures of South East Asia" This course is introduction to the anthropoloical studey of Southeast Asia.
Emphasis is placed on understanding the diversity of cultures and societies through both space and time. From geographical and historical perspectives, we examine the development of state systems and their relationships with "tribal" societies on their peripheries. The influence of Indian, Chinese and Islamic civilizations on traditional polities and of European nation states is explored in Part I. In Part II we consider ethnographic case studies from both mainland and insular South East Asia. In Part III we focus in greater detail on two topics in the ethnography of Thailand: gender roles and the tribal world. Both ethnographic sections emphasize majority/minority relations and the role of religion in the formulation of social identities from the individual to the national level.