Society for Medical Anthropology
Retrospective - Roundtable
Abstract: Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Winner of the Margaret Mead Award (2001) and the George Foster Award for Practicing Medical Anthropology (2013). Author of Fat Talk: What Girls and their Parents Say about Dieting (2000) and Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses (2015), and co-author of Anthropology and International Health: Asian Case Studies (2003). PI on recent projects for both the NIH and the Mayo Clinic and frequent invited speaker/expert related to tobacco cessation research. Over the course of roughly twenty-five years as a critically engaged scholar and medical anthropologist, Mimi Nichter has left an indelible mark on the field of anthropology through her numerous scholarly contributions. Fat Talk, for example, rewrote the ways in which subsequent anthropologists have approached the discourse(s) and performance(s) individuals in the US enact around weight, body, and fat at a pivotal point in the then-developing fields of critical obesity and fat research. As a scholar, Mimi Nichter is characterized by her intensely collaborative approach to designing research and intervention projects, as well as her emphasis on community engaged research with pragmatic, applied, culturally-appropriate components aimed at addressing ongoing threats to health. She has brought precision and sensitivity to her fieldwork in sites ranging from the Southwestern United States to rural India to urban Indonesia and Turkey, to improve understanding of both the intimate, personal nature of health-related behaviors and the systems-level factors which influence them. This roundtable serves as an opportunity, upon the occasion of her retirement, to revisit Mimi’s substantial work and contributions to the discipline. Presenters will engage in discussion of her unique and critical insights, and how these have added to important contemporary issues facing their fields and population health.