Each year the Department of Anthropology presents the Kassen Lecture. Generously supported by an annuity from the late Drs. Aileen and Julian Kassen, the lectureship invites a top female scholar in the social sciences to the department to present a lecture to the department and to the campus community. In addition to the lecture, anthropology graduate students have the opportunity to meet with the Kassen Lecturer in a small group discussion.

The 2024 Kassen Lecture will feature:

Dr. Elizabeth Carpenter-Song on January 25, 2024

Past Lectures


Dr. Alexandra Brewis

President’s Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

Lecture Title: “All Stigmas are Equal, but Some are More Equal than Others: Connecting Self, Social Stigma, and Global Health”


Dr. Heidi J. Larson

Director, The Vaccine Confidence Project; Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Clinical Professor, Department of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle; Guest Professor, University of Antwerp and KU Leuven, Belgium

Visiting Professor, Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Lecture Title: “Emotional Contagion in Times of COVID: From Fear to Hope”


Dr. Catherine Panter-Brick

Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs, Yale University

Lecture Title: “Refugee resilience and humanitarian action: knitting together research and policy”


Dr. Bambi Chapin

Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Lecture Title: “Childhood in Sri Lanka:  A Perspective From Twenty Years of Fieldwork”


Dr. Susan Greenhalgh

John King & Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor of Chinese Society, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

Lecture Title:  “Big Pharma, Big Food, and the Management of the Global Obesity Epidemic”


Dr. Nicole Burt

Curator of Human Health and Evolutionary Medicine, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Lecture Title: “Moving Beyond Paleofantasies: Reconstructing Unknown Diets”


Dr. Claire Wendland

Professor, Departments of Anthropology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lecture Title: “Dangerous Care: Reproductive Violence, Fast and Slow”


There was no Kassen lecture this year


Dr. Rayna Rapp

Professor, Associate Chair, Department of Anthropology, New York University

Lecture Title: “Banking on DNA: Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests in Comparative Perspective”


Dr. Cheryl Mattingly

Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California

Lecture Title: “Vulnerability, Virtue Ethics and the Anthropology of Suffering”


Dr. Margaret Lock

Marjorie Bronfman Professor in Social Studies in Medicine, Department of Anthropology, McGill University

Lecture Title: “The Alzheimer Enigma amidst Global Aging”


Dr. Marcia C. Inhorn

William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, Yale University

Lecture Title: “Global Gametes: Reproductive ‘Tourism’ and Islamic Bioethics in the High-tech Middle East”


Dr. Sarah Lamb

Associate Professor Anthropology, Brandeis University

Lecture Title: “Abandonment and Freedom: Elder-Care Institutions, Individualizing Subjectivities and the Ethics of Aging in Contemporary India”


Dr. Jennifer Furin      

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Medical Director for Partners in Health’s (PIH) Program, Lesotho

Lecture Title: “Anthropologist as Witness; Anthropologist as Advocate: Objectivity and Responsibility in Current Anthropological Practice”


Dr. Linda C. Garro

Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

Lecture Title: “Enacting Ethos, Enacting Health: Parental Commentary and Everyday Life in a California Family”


Dr. Carol Worthman

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Laboratory for Comparative Biology, Emory University

Lecture Title: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Cultural Models, Parenting Practices, and Child Development”


Dr. Kathryn Oths

Professor of Anthropology, University of Alabama

Lecture Title: “Sociocultural Dimensions of Birth Outcomes: An Anthropological Approach to the Persistent Ethnic Gap”


Dr. Judith Justice

Professor of Medical Anthropology and Health Policy, University of California at San Francisco

Lecture Title: “Volunteering in Poorer Countries: Empowerment or Exploitation?”


Dr. MaryJo DelVecchio Good

Professor of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; teaching faculty member in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Sociology, Harvard University

Lecture Title: “Indonesia Sakit (Indonesia in Pain): Interpretations of States of Crisis by Indonesian Contemporary Artists”


Dr. Carolyn Sargent

Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

Lecture Title: “Reproduction, Polygamy and the State: Challenges to Malian Migrants in Paris”


Dr. Shirley Lindenbaum

Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Lecture Title: “Thinking about Epidemics: Kuru, Mad Cow and Variant Cretzfeldt Jakob Disease”


Dr. Jean Comaroff

Professor of Anthropology and the Social Sciences in the College and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago

Lecture Title: “Alien Nation: Zombies, Immigrants, and the State of the South African Postcolony”


Dr. Susan Scrimshaw

Dean of the School of Public Health and Professor of Community Health Sciences and Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lecture Title: “Anthropologists in Public Health: A Time of Opportunity”