The Department of Sociology & Anthropology


Amy CooperAmy Cooper, Ph.D. Email  Janine Kay Gwen Chi, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D., University of Chicago
M.A., University of Chicago
B.Sc., Georgetown University

Visit Dr. Cooper's website

I am a cultural and medical anthropologist broadly focused on the social and political aspects of health care in Latin America and the Caribbean. My research and teaching interests include the anthropology of health and medicine, the body, mental health and psychiatry, homelessness, and aging; the anthropological study of citizenship and political activism; and Latin American and Caribbean studies. I have conducted ethnographic research on these topics in urban Venezuela, Cuba, and the United States.

Through my ongoing research I aim to rethink the relationships between political ideologies, public health systems, and local formulations of bodies, medicine, and subjectivity. In particular, I explore what specific health practices reveal about medicine’s role in constituting everyday life, ideas about the body and well being, and political agency.

At Muhlenberg, I specialize in teaching courses that address the intersections of health and healing, medical practice, and culture and society.

Courses offered at Muhlenberg
Medicine and Culture (Introduction to Medical Anthropology)
Health and Healing in Latin America
Culture, Mental Health, and Psychiatry (projected for Fall 2013)
Cultural Anthropology

Affiliated with Programs in:
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Public Health

Selected Publications

Review of Revolutionary medicine: Health and the body in post-Soviet Cuba by P. Sean Brotherton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012),

Becoming a community person: Stories of motivation and transformation in Barrio Adentro’s volunteer health committees [Spanish]. In De la Participación en Salud a la Construcción de Poder Popular: Experiencias para el Debate, Eds. Miguel Malo and Johanna Levy. Maracay, Venezuela: Instituto de Altos Estudios Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldón.

Review of Love, sorrow, and rage: Destitute women in a Manhattan residence. By Alisse Waterston (Philadephia: Temple University Press). Medical Anthropology Quarterly 20:261-262.

Psychiatrists’ attitudes toward involuntary hospitalization (second author). Psychiatric Services 55:1058-1060.

Mental illness stigma and care seeking (first author). Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 191:339-341.

Recent Presentations

Activism within the Activist State: Community Health Workers and State Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela. Latin American Studies Association Congress, Washington, D.C., May 30.

Conflicts over care in Venezuelan neighborhood clinics: Lessons for a changing medical landscape in the U.S. American Ethnological Society/Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Joint Meeting, Chicago, April 13.

Enacting utopias of health in Caracas. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 18.

An “excess” of medicine: Care, satisfaction, and citizenship in Venezuelan public health. Society for Medical Anthropology Meeting, Baltimore, March 28.

Paradoxes of inclusion: State health care and spatial violence among Venezuela’s indigentes. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Nov. 17.

Bodies in motion: Grandparents’ Clubs and the new politics of aging in Venezuela. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, November 19.

Making the hombre nuevo: New moralities of medicine and personhood in Venezuela. Latin American Studies Association Congress, Toronto, October 9.