Our Faculty

The Anthropology major features a diverse faculty with research and teaching expertise covering a wide range of topics and issues dedicated to exploring the social and cultural conditions of human life.

Cecilia Van Hollen

Research Areas
Dr. Van Hollen is Professor and Head of Studies of Anthropology. She is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology and gender studies in South Asia. Her ethnographic research examines social and cultural dimensions of health, medicine, and the body with a focus on social inequality and power and on discourses of modernity, nationalism, and development. Her research is primarily patient-centered, exploring lower class and lower caste South Indian women’s responses to and experiences with global and public health programs for maternal health, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. She is currently working on her third book project entitled The Curse of the Kali Yuga: Searching for Meaning and Care for Cancer in India. This book is an ethnography of women’s views of and experiences with cancer in the midst of both an emerging cancer crisis and a global public health focus on providing access to cancer screening and treatment to women in India. The book address three main questions: How do sociocultural factors and political and economic transformations inform women’s ideas and practices relating to cancer? How do women’s responses to cancer shed light on social, cultural, political and economic dynamics in India today? Why is ethnographic research on cancer important for global public health policy?
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Teaching Subjects
  • Anthropology Capstone Seminar
  • Medical Anthropology

Anju Mary Paul

Research Areas
I have several projects I am currently working on. The first, and longest-running, project of mine investigates the stepwise international labor migrations of Asian migrant domestic workers. This project involves in-depth interviews and surveys with migrants, as well as with NGOs and recruitment/placement agencies. I am also interested in migrant rights in the guest worker era and am involved in a project that investigates migrants’ awareness of their rights and the factors that influence their understanding and exercise of their rights. A third project of mine seeks to understand how aspiring and existing migrants look at and understand the world of destination options available to them, and how their subjective but evolving mental maps influence their destination decisions and migration trajectories in the short and long run. Finally, I am interested in the return migration decisions of highly-skilled Asian migrants, specifically Asian-born bioscientists who were trained in the West and have to decide whether or not to return to Asia at some point in their careers. This last project has sparked an interest in the science and technology policies of Asian developmental states and the cultivation and curation of scientific cultures.       
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Teaching Subjects
  • Methods in the Social Sciences
  • Globalisation on the Ground
  • International Migration
  • Divided Cities
  • Comparative Social Inquiry

Gabriele Koch

Research Areas
Dr Koch is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on how globalising human rights and labour rights discourses intersect with longstanding histories of gender, labour, and care in urban Japan. Her book project, Human Rights in Japan’s Libidinal Economy, explores contestations over the meaning of labour and rights in Tokyo’s mainstream commercial sex industry. In Japan, female sex workers are ambivalent about their work not because it involves sexual services but because it is female care work. At the same time that the short-term employment of young Japanese women in this industry is being normalised, labour and human rights advocates are politicising these women in new ways. Based on 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, Dr Koch’s manuscript examines how intimate relations in Tokyo’s sex industry are implicated within recent political-economic transformations to explore why sex workers do not recognise themselves in the advocacy of competing rights movements.
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Teaching Subjects
  • The Anthropological Imagination
  • The Anthropology of Human Rights
  • Sexual Economies
  • Gender Perspectives in Anthropology

Stuart Earle Strange

Research Areas
Dr Strange’s research examines the nexus of knowledge, interaction, and personhood, with an emphasis on Afro- and Indo-Caribbean ritual practices, dreaming, and the politics of revelation. He has conducted ethnographic research in Suriname, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Ghana and the United States, with a future project planed in Singapore.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Religion, Ritual and Magic
  • Ethnography
  • The Anthropology of Dreams and Sleep

Neena Mahadev

Research Areas
Dr. Mahadev's specialisation is in the anthropology of religion and religious politics, with a focus on Buddhism and Christianity. She is also involved in study of forms of religiosity and ritual that fall beyond the scope of what are ordinarily classified as ‘World Religions’. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for HAU Journal of Ethnographic Theory.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Religion and the Media Turn
  • Introduction to Anthropology

Zachary M. Howlett

Research Areas
Dr Howlett is a political and historical anthropologist of China and overseas Chinese. His research combines interests in education and mobility, gender and family, culture and technology, and popular religion. His book in progress is entitled Fateful Rite of Passage: The National College Entrance Examination and the Myth of Meritocracy in Post-Mao China.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Modern Social Thought
  • Language, Culture, and Power
  • Anthropology of China