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 2019 Kassen Lecture will feature

Dr. Bambi Chapin

Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

LECTURE TITLE: “Childhood in Sri Lanka:  A Perspective From Twenty Years of Fieldwork.”

November 7, 2019| 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM [Light refreshments provided] | Mather Memorial 201


For over twenty years, Bambi Chapin has studied childhood, childrearing, and mothering in Sri Lanka.  Her work has been hailed for its insightful ethnographic analysis of cross-cultural socialization, child development, and everyday life of Sri Lankan families.  This research, which is ongoing, highlights the theoretical and methodological power of ethnographic fieldwork.


Past Lectures


Dr. Susan Greenhalgh

John King & Wilma Cannon Fairbank Research Professor of Chinese Society in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard

LECTURE TITLE:  “Big Pharma, Big Food, and the Management of the Global Obesity Epidemic”



Dr. Nicole Burt

Curator of Human Health and Evolutionary Medicine at the 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 at Yale University

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


Dr. Sarah Lamb

Ph.D., 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

M.D., Harvard Medical School, Ph.D., University of California           

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

LECTURE TITLE: “Anthropologist as Witness; Anthropologist as Advocate: Objectivity and Responsibility in Current Anthropological Practice”


Dr. Linda C. Garro

Ph.D., Duke University and University of California, Irvine

Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. Research in cognitive anthropology, medical anthropology, research methods, Mesoamerica and northern North America.

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


Dr. Carol Worthman

Ph.D., Harvard University

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

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


Dr. Kathryn Oths

Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University

Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama

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

2005 – 2006:

Dr. Judith Justice

Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley

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

LECTURE TITLE: “Volunteering in Poorer Countries: Empowerment or Exploitation?”

2003 – 2004:

Dr. MaryJo DelVecchio Good

Ph.D. Harvard

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

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

2002 -2003:

Dr. Carolyn Sargent

Ph.D. Michigan State

Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University

LECTURE TITLE: “Reproduction, Polygamy and the State: Challenges to Malian Migrants in Paris”

2001 – 2002:

Dr. Shirley Lindenbaum

Ph.D. Hon. New School of Social Research

Professor of Anthropology in the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

LECTURE TITLE: “Thinking about Epidemics: Kuru, Mad Cow and Variant Cretzfeldt Jakob Disease”

2000 – 2001:

Dr. Jean Comaroff

Ph.D. University of London

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

Ph.D. Columbia

Dean of the School of Public Health and Professor of Community Health Sciences and Anthropology at University of Illinois at Chicago. She was formerly in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Dean of Public Health at UCLA.

LECTURE TITLE: “Anthropologists in Public Health: A Time of Opportunity”