Katherine A. Mason

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Katherine Mason joined Brown University and the PSTC in 2014. She is a medical anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in China and the U.S.

Mason's research addresses issues in medical anthropology, anthropological demography, population health, bioethics, global health, science and technology studies, China studies, and gender studies. She is broadly interested in how "populations" and "communities" are created and conceptualized, especially in the field of public health, and how people form relationships with these kinds of abstract entities. Her first book, Infectious Change: Reinventing Chinese Public Health after an Epidemic, is based on fieldwork she conducted in southeastern China on the professionalization of public health in China following the 2003 SARS epidemic. It was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. Mason's research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, U.S. Fulbright program, and Association for Asian Studies.

Selected Publications

Mason, Katherine A. (2013) To Your Health!: Toasting, Intoxication, and Gendered Critique among Banqueting Women. The China Journal 69: 108-133.

Mason, Katherine A. (2012) Mobile Migrants, Mobile Germs: Migration, Contagion, and Boundary-Building in Shenzhen, China after SARS. Medical Anthropology 31(2): 113-131.

Mason, Katherine A. (2010) Becoming Modern After SARS: Battling the H1N1 Pandemic and the Politics of Backwardness in China’s Pearl River Delta. Special Issue, “Epidemic Orders.” Behemoth 2010(3): 8-35.

Current Projects

Stigma and HIV/AIDS testing Among Chinese Immigrants to NYC

Mason is working with colleagues in the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology on a mixed methods study of the intersections of culture, migration, and stigma, and their impact on HIV/AIDS testing behaviors among Chinese immigrants to New York City. Qualitative interviews as well as quantitative stigma scales are being administered to participants. This work is funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Seed Grant.

Mason is also in the preliminary stages of developing two new projects: a multi-sited study of the postpartum period in the U.S. and China, and a study of vaccination in the U.S.


Anthropological demography, bioethics, China, Ethnicity, Gender, Global health, infectious disease, Migration, population health, Race, U.S., Urbanization