Professor Cecilia Van Hollen is a cultural and medical anthropologist specialising in research on women’s health in India. She received her BA from Brown University in anthropology and religious studies; an MA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania; and a PhD in medical anthropology from U.C.-Berkeley and UC-San Francisco. Prof Van Hollen has published two books: Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India (University of California Press, 2003) and Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India (Stanford University Press, 2013) and is currently working on her third major research project on women and cancer in India. Her book, Birth on the Threshold, received the Association for Asian Studies’ 2005 prize for the best book in South Asia Studies. She received the Steven Polgar Paper Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association for the Best Paper Published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly in 2011-12. She has received research fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Fulbright Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Prof Van Hollen has been on the faculties of anthropology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the University of Notre Dame and a visiting faculty member of Asian Studies at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is on the Board of Trustees of AIIS and a member of the Editorial Board of the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Van Hollen served as the Director of the Department of Education National Resource Center for South Asian Studies at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She has been a contributor to the CSIS Global Health Policy blog and a Delegate to Oxfam-India’s South Asia Maternal-Health Regional Dialogue.
Prof Van Hollen’s ethnographic research focuses empirically on social and cultural dimensions of health, medicine, the body, and global and public health policy in India, and theoretically on globalisation and modernity; feminism and gender studies; critical medical anthropology; and social inequality and power. Her research aims to both expand the empirical and theoretical horizons of anthropology and South Asia Studies and to provide insights to policymakers working in global and public health.
Selected publications (see CV for full publications list):
(Under Review) Cancer and the Kali Yuga: Reflections on a Reproductive Cancer Crisis in India.
2013. Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.
2003. Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth & Modernity in South India. Berkeley: University of California Press. [Also published by Zubaan, Delhi, India].
Articles and Book Chapters:
(Under Review) Morality Tales of Reproductive Cancer Screening Camps in South India. In Linda Bennett, Lenore Manderson, and Belinda Spagnoletti, eds. Cancer and the Politics of Care: Inequalities and Interventions in Global Perspective. London: University College London (UCL) Press. (Refereed).
2019. (with Carlo Caduff). Cancer and the Global South. In Cancer and the Global South: Special Issue of BioSocieties, Carlo Caduff and Cecilia Van Hollen, eds. Volume 14, Issue 4: 489-495.
2019. May the Vital Force Be with You: An Indian homeopathic doctor’s approach to the gendered ills of our time. In Arima Mishra, ed. Local Health Traditions: Pluralism and Marginality in South Asia. Delhi: Orient Blackswan: 291-310. (Refereed)
2019. (with Krishnan, Shweta; Rathnam, Shibani) “It’s Partly in Our Hands; It’s Partly in the Hands of the Goddess”: Cancer patients’ quest for well-being in India. Special Issue on South Asian Hospitals. Purushartha: Sciences sociales en Asie du Sud (Social Science in South Asia). Journal of L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Volume 36:179-206.
2018. (with Caduff, Carlo, Mac Skelton, Dwaipayan Banerjee, Darja Djordevic, Marissa Mika, Lucas Mueller, Kavita Sivaramakrishnan) An Analysis of social science research into cancer care in low- and middle-income countries: improving global cancer control through greater interdisciplinary research. Journal of Global Oncology. 18.00045, published online June 15, 2018: 1-9.
2018. Handle with Care: Rethinking the rights vs. culture dichotomy in cancer disclosure in India. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Vol. 32(1): 59-84
2017. Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Implications for understanding gender and healthcare in India. In Re-presenting Feminist Methodologies: Interdisciplinary Explorations. Kalpana Kannabiran and Padmini Swaminathan, eds. Pp. 330-347. NY: Routledge. [Revised reprint of article published by Economic and Political Weekly in 2016]
2016. Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Implications for understanding gender and healthcare in India. Special Issue. Economic and Political Weekly 51(18):72-79.
2015. (with Sheoran, Nayatara; Deomampo, Daisy). Extending Theory, Rupturing Boundaries: Reproduction, Health, and Medicine Beyond North-South Binaries. Special Issue. Medical Anthropology 34(3):185-191.
2011. Breast or Bottle? HIV-Positive Women’s Responses to Global Health Policy on Infant Feeding in India. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(4):499-518.
2011. Birth in the Age of AIDS: local responses to global policies and technologies in South India. In Reproduction, Globalization, and the State: New Theoretical and Ethnographic Perspectives. Carolyn Sargent and Carole Browner, eds. Pp. 83–95. Durham: Duke University Press.
2011. HIV/AIDS: Global Policies, Local Realities. In Companion to the Anthropology of India. Isabelle Clark-Deces, ed. Pp. 464–481. Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
2010. HIV/AIDS and the Gendering of Stigma in Tamil Nadu, South India. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 34(4):633–657.
2007. Navigating HIV, Pregnancy, and Childbearing in South India: Pragmatics and Constraints in women’s decision-making. Medical Anthropology 26(7): 7–52.
2005. Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Politics of “Traditional” Indian Medicine for HIV/AIDS. In Asian Medicine and Globalization. Joseph Alter, ed. Pp. 88–106. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
2003. Invoking Vali: Painful Technologies of Modern Birth in South India. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17(1):49–77.
2002. “Baby Friendly” Hospitals and Bad Mothers: Maneuvering Development in the Postpartum Period in Tamil Nadu, South India. In The Daughters of Hariti: Birth and Female Healers in South and Southeast Asia. Santi Rozario and Geoffrey Samuel, eds. Pp. 163–181. New York: Routledge.
1998. Moving Targets: Routine IUD Insertions in Maternity Wards in Tamil Nadu, India. Reproductive Health Matters 6(11):98-106.
1994. Perspectives on the Anthropology of Birth [A Review Article of Three Books]. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 18: 501–512.
2016. Trump and the Establishment Boogeyman: What is “the establishment” and why was it scorned this election cycle? Anthropology News. Online, December 14, 2016
2015. Maternal Healthcare in South Asia as the MDGs Wind Down. Invited blog for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Health Policy. May 15, 2015.
2014. Reflections on the U.S.- India Standoff on Generics. Invited blog for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Health Policy. November 5, 2014.
2014. Closing the Gap in India: How Shortages of Anti-retroviral Therapies Could Jeopardize India’s Race to Eradicate AIDS. Invited Blog for Stanford University Press on World AIDS Day.
Anthropology Capstone Seminar
Culture and Reproductive Health and Medicine