Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Medical Education and Anthropology, Northwestern University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Irvine
Modern Bodies, Miraculous and Flawed: Imaginings of Self and State in Mexican Organ Transplantation

Taking the practices and experiences of organ transplantation as a site of cultural production, this project will explore the intersection of this hyper-modern biomedical practice and the imagining of bodies and identities from different cultural and class locations. My study will use comparative ethnographic research in three kidney transplant programs in Guadalajara, Mexico to explore the following questions: 1) what vision or visions of the human body does transplantation both depend on and promote?; 2) what values does it imply?; and 3) how does it intersect with and affect existing local/global inequalities? Using the methods of participant observation, interviewing and analysis of hospital records and popular media materials, this research will examine kidney transplant experiences among medical staff, patients and their families in three socio-economically distinct hospital settings. Opening up the connections drawn in existing research between biomedicine, organ transplantation and Western constructions of the body and identity, my project will ask: In what ways is organ transplantation in Mexico shaped by local constructions and valuations of the body – and in what ways does it rework those local constructions? What can the practices and experiences of organ transplantation reveal about how biomedicine is articulated with other cultural domains in Mexico? And what might this contribute to the anthropological study of modernity and its transformations across different cultural settings?