My interest in issues of health, sex, and sexuality has had two axes: I have researched the wellbeing and constraints on the lives of adolescents, especially as related to coming of age: the rites, definitions, and boundaries of maturing male and female persons. I have also conducted a survey on fertility and family planning attitudes and behaviors. Secondly, I have conducted research on HIV/AIDS, its realities, and the impact the pandemic had on Kuria families. Much of the latter research was funded by Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research to study “Kuria Family in the Era of HIV/AIDS,” and by Bennington College faculty grants and carried out in Kenya under the auspices of the office of the President and Ministry of Science and Technology, 2007-08. 

Courses taught on the subject
  • The AIDS Pandemic
  • AIDS Activism in Africa (in Uganda)
  • In Sickness and in Health: Introduction to Medical Anthropology

Escorting initiates home from circumcision, 1998

Kuria District Hospital, 2007

Talking About Sex:  Contemporary Construction of Sexuality in Rural Kenya
Studying Life Strategies of Orphans in Rural Kenya

Witnessing a Rite of Passage
Measurement and Meaning: Community-Based Research on Child Mortality in Rural Kenya

Papers and Talks

“AIDS Activism in Uganda,” poster session at the American Ethnological Society meetings in New York, New York, April 18-21, 2012.

“Meeting the Needs of AIDS Orphans in Rural Kenya,” panel presentation for Parents’ Weekend at Bennington College, VT, September 24, 2011.

“Studying the Victim/Survivor: The Contemporary Face of AIDS in Rural Kenya,” Social Science Colloquium Series, Bennington College, April 27, 2009.

“Demographic Trends and HIV/AIDS in Rural Kenya,” invited speaker, the Bennington Rotary Club, March 20, 2009.

“Impact of AIDS on Kenyan Families,” invited speaker, the Catamount Rotary Club, February 3, 2009.

“Contemporary Construction of Sexuality in Rural Kenya,” presentation and discussion in Anthropology 341, “Kinship, Marriage and Gender,” taught by Amali Philips at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada , January 23, 2006.

“Playing Sex: Changing Perceptions of Sexuality in the Kuria Community of Rural Kenya,” presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings in Chicago, Illinois, November 17-21, 1999.

Drink medicine here, 1994
Rose’s clinic, 2014
Pharmacy, 1994
Market stall for coffins, 2008