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 2020 Kassen Lecture will feature:


Past Lectures


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”

2005 – 2006

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?”

2003 – 2004

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”

2002 -2003

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”

2001 – 2002

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”

2000 – 2001

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”

1999 – 2000

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”