Michele Rivkin-Fish

Associate Professor
Ph.D. Princeton, 1997
mrfish@email.unc.edu
410G Alumni Building

Statement of Interests:
Ethnographic methods enable us to understand the often subtle ways inequalities in health get produced and reproduced in daily life, in sites ranging from the clinic to the community. My research is concerned with illuminating these processes in Russia and the United States, two societies that are marked by deep and widening health inequalities that are also undergoing long-standing crises in health care. I study the ways health inequalities become envisioned (or rendered invisible), and either justified or critiqued; the culturally meaningful idioms through which health systems become known and navigated by both experts and laypersons; and the institutional frameworks that shape the reproduction and transformation of inequalities. Within these broad theoretical concerns, my research examines two specific ethnographic issues: 1) reproductive politics, including abortion, contraception, and demographic issues as sites of gendered, classed, and racialized inequalities; and 2) the ways health policy and health care reform introduce new moral imperatives for clinicians, including ‘efficiency’ and ‘community involvement,’ concepts that place market logics at the very center of health care relationships.

I enjoy teaching courses that explore these themes through in-depth, ethnographic case studies; I also believe it is important for anthropologists to examine the ways related disciplinary approaches in the medical humanities, including those of literary scholars, bioethicists, and historians, grapple with these issues. My classes explore questions of justice in health care from anthropological and bioethical perspectives; the ways dramatic transformations in social systems affect health and health care; the role of narrative in constructing illness and healing; and the ways ethnographic insights can reach beyond the walls of the academy to provide crucial insights for clinicians, public health practitioners, and local communities.

Some of the Courses I regularly teach include: ANTH 898:073 Moral Economies of Medicine; ANTH 444: Medicine, Politics, and Justice; ANTH 470: Medicine and Anthropology; ANTH 147: Comparative Healing Systems; ANTH 699: Anthropology and Public Health; ANTH 699:073 Narrative, Literature, and Medicine; ANTH 443: Cultures and Politics of Reproduction.

Some of the Courses I regularly teach include: ANTH 898:073 Moral Economies of Medicine; ANTH 444: Medicine, Politics, and Justice; ANTH 470: Medicine and Anthropology; ANTH 147: Comparative Healing Systems; ANTH 699: Anthropology and Public Health; ANTH 699:073 Narrative, Literature, and Medicine; ANTH 443: Cultures and Politics of Reproduction.

Moral Economies of Medicine Faculty-Student Working Group
Since 2008, I have been pleased to support the Moral Economies of Medicine Working Group, a vibrant forum for discussion of topics related to the Anthropology of Medicine and related issues.

Publications:
2013 “Conceptualizing Feminist Strategies for Russian Reproductive Politics: Abortion, Surrogate Motherhood, and Family Support After Socialism” SIGNS, 38(3):569-593.

2012 “Rethinking Problems Surrounding Access to Care: The Moral Economies Shaping Health Care Work Forces in Russia and the U.S.” in Health Care and Change: the US, China and Postcommunist Europe in a Reconfiguring World, ed. Peggy Watson, Routledge Press.

2011 “Troubling the Reproduction of a Nation,” Companion to the Anthropology of Embodiment, Fran Mascia-Lees, ed. New York: Wiley-Blackwell: pp. 403-418.

2011 “Learning the Moral Economy of Commodified Health Care: Community Education, Failed Consumers, and the Making of Ethical Clinician-Citizens” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 35(2), special issue on Clinical Subjectivation: Anthropologies of Contemporary Biomedical Training, pp. 183-208.

2010 Dilemmas of Diversity After the Cold War: Analyses of “Cultural Difference” by US and Russia-Based Scholars (co-edited with Elena Trubina). Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

2010 “Pronatalism, Gender Politics, and the Renewal of Family Support in Russia: Towards a Feminist Anthropology of ‘Maternity Capital’” Slavic Review 69(3): 701-724.

2009 “Tracing Landscapes of the Past in Class Subjectivity: Practices of Memory and Distinction in Marketizing Russia” American Ethnologist 36(1):163-179.]

2005 Women’s Health in Post-Soviet Russia: The Politics of Intervention (Indiana University Press.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *