Cecilia Van Hollen will begin a new position in July 2018 as Professor and Head of Studies of Anthropology at Yale-NUS. Her areas of expertise are in South Asia Studies, cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, and gender and sexuality. Van Hollen’s book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India was published by Stanford University Press in 2013. Her first book Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India, published by the University of California Press in 2003, received the Association for Asian Studies’ 2005 prize for the best book in South Asia Studies. She has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the American Institute for Indian Studies (AIIS), and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Van Hollen received her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley. She has been on the faculties of anthropology at 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 Maternal and Child Health Journal. Van Hollen has been a contributor to the CSIS Global Health Policy blog and a Delegate to Oxfam-India’s South Asia Maternal-Health Regional Dialogue.

Project Summary

The prevention, screening and treatment of cancer has emerged as a critical focus of global public health in countries around the world. In India this has included the implementation of international, state and NGO programs to promote and provide low-cost screening and treatment for cervical and breast cancer—the two leading forms of cancer among Indian women—in low-income communities. Based on ethnographic research conducted from 2015-2016 with public health workers, medical practitioners, and women cancer patients in South India, Van Hollen reveals complex, contradictory understandings of cancer causality and risk and explores how gender, class and caste influence decision-making and experiences with treatment for these reproductive cancers. This medical anthropological study demonstrates that responses to cancer can provide insights into relations of class, caste, gender, ethnicity and religion in India today and shed light on Indian perceptions of their nation’s past, present and future in the era of globalization.

Major Publications

  • Publication One: 2013 Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.
  • Publication Two: 2003 Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth & Modernity in South India. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Publication Three: 2016 Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Implications for understanding gender and healthcare in India. Special Issue. Economic and Political Weekly 51(18):72-79.