Kristin Bright
Office
Munroe Hall 103
Tel
(802) 443-2236
Email
kbright@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall Term: Tuesdays 12:15-1:15 p.m. and 3-4 p.m., and Thursdays 12:15-1:15 p.m.

Kristin Bright is a cultural and medical anthropologist at Middlebury College and affiliated graduate faculty at the University of Toronto. She has extensive experience in international healthcare systems research and policy, as well as multimodal ethnographic research in South Asia and North America.

At Middlebury and UofT, she leads the Body Online lab where she and students are researching sociocultural dimensions of adolescent mental health, cancer treatment, relational and sexual health, holistic and integrative medicine, digital ecosystems, and end of life care. Across these projects, they are interested in the diverse ways people imagine and interact with emerging practices of digital communication and activism.

After finishing her PhD in 1998 at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bright completed postdoc work in medical humanities at UC Irvine and Stanford (1999-2002). She then carried out NIH funded postdoc work at UC Berkeley on young adult substance use and mental health. She has directed large multi-site studies including a sociocultural/clinical study of advanced breast cancer in Egypt, India, Mexico, South Africa, and the US, and a large policy study on access to novel therapeutics for lethal cancers in Canada and the US.

Current research: In ‘22-23, Bright is working on the implementation and evaluation of a state-funded program in school-based healthcare with partners at Mount Abraham Union School District and Mountain Health Center. In a second project, she and students at Dartmouth and Middlebury are researching digital media innovations in cancer treatment communication. In a third ongoing project with colleagues at the UofT, she is researching sociocultural relations and expressions of legacy, life, and materiality in hospice care and medically assisted death. 

Advising and teaching: Bright advises student research in cultural and medical anthropology, GSFS, pre-health and pre-med, IGST, South Asia and North America. Areas of teaching specialty include: medical anthropology, South Asia and the diaspora, anthropologies of the body, critical science and technology (STS), anthropologies of design, therapeutic landscapes, decolonizing medicine and medical history, multimodal ethnographic research and practice, and critical theory (biopolitics, affect, infra/structure, body, human/nonhuman relations, queer theory, kinship, anthropocene).

Courses Taught

Course Description

Everyday Life in South Asia
This course offers an introduction to anthropological studies of South Asia. Relying on works of ethnography, journalism, memoir, and film, we examine people’s everyday lived experiences and mediations of globalization, religion, science, popular culture, gender, and the body in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. In taking a close and intersectional look at situations across the region (e.g., new expressions of gender and capitalism in India, narratives of religious pluralism in Pakistan, enactments of media, modernity, and sexuality in Afghanistan), the course aims to give students the opportunity to sharpen their cultural analysis skills as they glean a more complex understanding of people’s ways of living across South Asia and the diaspora.3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AAL, CMP, SOA, SOC

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Course Description

Medical Anthropology: Approaches to Affliction and Healing
In this course, an introduction to medical anthropology, we will explore cultural and political-economic perspectives on health, illness, and disease. Topics covered include: (1) biocultural approaches to understanding health; (2) medical systems, including biomedicine and others; (3) the effects of poverty and inequality on health outcomes; and (4) the social construction of health and illness. Students will apply these concepts in understanding an aspect of health, illness, or healing in their own research project with an ethnographic component. An introductory course in anthropology or familiarity with medical or public health issues is recommended. (formerly SOAN 0387) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

The Research Process: Ethnography and Qualitative Methods
The aim of this course is to prepare the student to conduct research, to analyze and present research in a scholarly manner, and to evaluate critically the research of others. Practice and evaluation of such basic techniques as observation, participant-observation, structured and open-ended interviews, and use of documents. Introduction to various methodological and theoretical frameworks. Thesis or essay prospectus is the final product of this course. Strongly recommended for juniors. One-hour research lab required. (SOAN 0103 or ANTH 0103 or SOAN 0105 or SOCI 0105) (formerly SOAN 0302) 3 hrs. lect./disc./1 hr. research lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Love, Sex, and Marriage
What are the social terms for sexual agency in countries around the world? How is marriage understood through idealizations of romance as well as familial expectations of duty or status? In this course we consider how other cultures’ views on love, sex, and partnership are made legible and illegible within broader cultural, moral, and state interests. The course asks for in-depth participation, short weekly writings, and a longer final paper that each engage ethnographic works on a range of topics, from critical studies of love and globalization to queer kinmaking, rituals of the ‘lavish wedding,’ and everyday ways of hooking up and breaking up online. 3 hrs. lect. (GloDeFem)

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

The Traveling Tonic: Geographies of Medicine, Science, and the Body
Medical practice does not operate within bounded systems but moves in highly transactional and molten ways—from the circulation of classical Chinese and Indian manuscripts to transnational movements of genes, gametes, and drugs. In this seminar we draw on ethnographic examples to grasp the importance of migration in producing science. The metaphor of travel enables us to pivot from Eurocentric histories of science to disrupt what we mean by global medicine. At the same time, the figure of the tonic enables us to think about the many sorts of life (plants, distillates, vectors, etc.) that make up medicine today. (ANTH 0287) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

The Traveling Tonic: Geographies of Medicine, Science, and the Body
Medical practice does not operate within bounded systems but moves in highly transactional and molten ways—from the circulation of classical Chinese and Indian manuscripts to transnational movements of genes, gametes, and drugs. In this seminar we draw on ethnographic examples to grasp the importance of migration in producing science. The metaphor of travel enables us to pivot from Eurocentric histories of science to disrupt what we mean by global medicine. At the same time, the figure of the tonic enables us to think about the many sorts of life (plants, distillates, vectors, etc.) that make up medicine today. (ANTH 0287) 3 hrs. sem. (Formerly ANTH 0340) (Not open to students who have already taken ANTH 0340.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Prior to registering for ANTH 0500, a student must enlist the support of a faculty advisor from the Department of Anthropology. (Open to Majors only) (Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

One-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a student will carry out an independent, one-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 25-40 pages, due the last day of classes.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Multi-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a senior will carry out an independent multi-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 60-100 pages, due either at the end of the Winter Term or the Friday after spring break.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

The Roaring Twenties
What will relationships look like at Middlebury and beyond, post-pandemic? Drawing on fiction, film, theory, and art, we will produce a collaborative exhibit on American sex and sociality in the 2020s. Our goal will be to depict the ideas and desires of Gen Zers, a generation more racially diverse, gender fluid, and well-educated than older Americans but facing higher social and economic uncertainty. What do Gen Z dreams and concerns look like in the context of #MeToo, BLM, and other movements? This course will be a place to study and understand shifts in dating, sex, solidarity, and citizenship—what those shifts are, and what they could be.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

East Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Prior to registering for SOAN 0500, a student must enlist the support of a faculty advisor from the Department of Sociology/Anthropology. (Open to Majors only) (Approval Required) (Sociology or Anthropology)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

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Course Description

One-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a student will carry out an independent, one-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 25-40 pages, due the last day of classes. (Sociology or Anthropology)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Multi-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a senior will carry out an independent multi-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 60-100 pages, due either at the end of the Winter Term or the Friday after spring break. (Sociology or Anthropology)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

View in Course Catalog

Publications