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Cecilia Van Hollen

Associate Professor, Anthropology

Cecilia_VanHollen Headshot

Contact Information
cvanholl@maxwell.syr.edu

331 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-5102
Curriculum Vitae
Cecilia Van Hollen CV

Affiliated Faculty Member, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University

Degree

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco, 1998

Specialties

Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, global health, reproduction, HIV/AIDS, gender and sexuality, globalization, South Asia

Courses

ANT 185: Global Encounters: Comparing Worldviews and Values Cross-Culturally 

ANT 324: Modern South Asian Cultures

ANT 357: Health, Healing and Culture

ANT 421/621: Gender and Sexuality in South Asia

ANT 462/662; WGS  462;  HTW  462: Culture and Reproductive Health and Medicine

ANT 465/665: Critical Issues in Medical Anthropology

ANT 625: Problems in South Asia Anthropology

ANT 711: Contemporary Anthropological Theory

Biography

My work focuses empirically on social and cultural dimensions of health, medicine, international development, and the body in India, and theoretically on globalization and modernity; feminism and gender studies; critical medical anthropology; and social inequality and power. My research aims to both expand the empirical and theoretical horizons of anthropology and South Asia Studies and to provide insights to policymakers working in global and public health.

Most of my research has focused on women's health, and particularly reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu where I have linguistic expertise and deep roots, going back to my childhood. I have published two books and numerous articles based on my ethnographic research. My first book, Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India was published by the University of California Press in 2003 and received the Association for Asian Studies' 2005 A.K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize for the best book in South Asia Studies. The book analyzes the impact of modernity and medicalization on the experiences and decision-making processes of lower class women during childbirth. My second book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India was published by Stanford University Press in 2013. It examines the impact of HIV/AIDS on the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in India, focusing on local responses to global health programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. My article, ““Breast or Bottle? HIV-Positive Women's Responses to Global Health Policy on Infant Feeding in India” received the Steven Polgar Paper Prize from the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association for the Best Paper Published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly in 2011-12.

I am currently engaged in a new ethnographic research project on socio-cultural perspectives and responses to cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment in India. And I am working on a biography of Miron Winslow, an early 19th century American missionary in Ceylon and India.

For my research I have received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the American Institute of India Studies. In 2007 I received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for outstanding teaching, research and service by an untenured Maxwell School faculty member, from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. And I received Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in 1988.

In 2015 I served as a consultant to Oxfam-India for their program on “South Asia Consultation on Maternal Health-Regional Dialogue and Way Forward. From 2012-13 I was a Visiting Adjunct Associate Professor in the Asian Studies Program, at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, at Georgetown University. And From 2010-2012 I served as the Director of the National Resource Center for South Asian Studies in the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at Syracuse University and as a Trustee of the American Institute of India Studies and of the South Asia Language Institute.

Publications

BOOKS / MONOGRAPHS

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2013  Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. (274 pgs)

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2003  Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth & Modernity in South India. Berkeley: University of California Press. (295 pgs). [Also published by Zubaan, Delhi, India].

ARTICLES, CHAPTERS, AND FORMAL REPORTS

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2017  “Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Implications for understanding gender and healthcare in India.” Re-presenting Feminist Methodologies: Interdisciplinary Explorations, edited by Kalpana Kannabiran and Padmini Swaminathan. Routledge

Sheoran, Nayatara; Deomampo, Daisy; Van Hollen, Cecilia

2015  "Extending Theory, Rupturing Boundaries: Reproduction, Health, and Medicine Beyond North-South Binaries." Special Issue. Medical Anthropology 34(3):185-191.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2011  "Breast or Bottle? HIV-Positive Women's Responses to Global Health Policy on Infant Feeding in India." Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(4):499-518.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2011  "Birth in the Age of AIDS: local responses to global policies and technologies in South India." In Reproduction, Globalization, and the State: New Theoretical and Ethnographic Perspectives. Carolyn Sargent and Carole Browner, eds. Pp. 83­-95. Durham: Duke University Press.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2011  "HIV/AIDS: Global Policies, Local Realities." In Companion to the Anthropology of India. Isabelle Clark-Deces, ed. Pp. 464-481. Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2010  "HIV/AIDS and the Gendering of Stigma in Tamil Nadu, South India." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 34(4):633-657.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2007  "Navigating HIV, Pregnancy, and Childbearing in South India: Pragmatics and Constraints in women's decision-making." Medical Anthropology 26(7): 7-52.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2005  "Nationalism, Transnationalism, and the Politics of “Traditional” Indian Medicine for HIV/AIDS." In Asian Medicine and Globalization. Joseph Alter, ed. Pp. 88-106. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2003  "Invoking Vali: Painful Technologies of Modern Birth in South India." Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17(1):49-77.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

2002  “Baby Friendly” Hospitals and Bad Mothers: Maneuvering Development in the Postpartum Period in Tamil Nadu, South India. In The Daughters of Hariti: Birth and Female Healers in South and Southeast Asia. Santi Rozario and Geoffrey Samuel, eds. Pp. 163-181. New York: Routledge.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

1998  "Moving Targets: Routine IUD Insertions in Maternity Wards in Tamil Nadu, India." Reproductive Health Matters 6(11):98-106.

Van Hollen, Cecilia

1994  "Perspectives on the Anthropology of Birth" [A Review Article of Three Books]. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 18: 501-512.

Vice President, Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, Syracuse University Spring 2015-present

BLOGS

2015  Maternal Healthcare in South Asia as the MDGs Wind Down. Invited blog for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Health Policy. May 15, 2015. http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/maternal-healthcare-in-south-asia-as-the-mdgs-wind-down/

2014  Reflections on the U.S. India Standoff on Generics. Invited blog for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Global Health Policy. November 5, 2014. http://www.smartglobalhealth.org/blog/entry/reflections-on-the-u.s.-india-standoff-on-generics/

2014  Closing the Gap in India: How Shortages of Anti-retroviral Therapies Could Jeopardize India's Race to Eradicate AIDS. Invited Blog for Stanford University Press on World AIDS Day. http://stanfordpress.typepad.com/blog/2014/12/closing-the-gap-in-india-1.html

Teaching Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University

     August 2007 – present

Visiting Adjunct Associate Professor, Asian Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

     August 2012 – May 2013

Affiliated Faculty Member, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University

     September 2011 – present

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University

     August 2003 – August 2007

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame

     August 2000 – August 2003

Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, UC-Berkeley

     Summer 1999

Lecturer, Women’s Studies Department, UC-Berkeley

     Spring 1999

Research Interests

I am a cultural anthropologist, specializing in critical medical anthropology and South Asia Studies. Within medical anthropology my research focuses on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS among low-income communities in India. My work explores the intersections of health, medicine, and the body with gender, globalization, development projects, and nationalism. By examining the influence of culture and political-economy on decision-making surrounding women’s health, my research aims to contribute to local and global health policy. 

Research Projects

My first major research project was on the medicalization of childbirth in South India. This research explores the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-partum period for poor women attending public maternity hospitals and explains their decision-making processes for seeking healthcare within a particular social and cultural context. I conducted ethnographic research for this project between 1991 and1997. This culminated in the publication of my book, Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India, published by the University of California Press in 2003. I have also published articles on theoretical approaches to the anthropology of birth; on family planning, post-partum practices, and maternal and child health development projects.

My second major research project examines the intersections of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS in India. It presents the experiences of poor HIV-positive women during pregnancy, birth and early motherhood and points to the unintended social consequences of the global health and Government of India's program to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child. This work explores the intersections of HIV/AIDS, gender, and stigma and shows how women pragmatically navigate a range of social and cultural factors as they make decisions about healthcare for themselves and their children. This ethnographic research project spanned a period from 2002 to 2008. It culminated in the publication of my book, Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India which was published by Stanford University Press in 2013. I have also written numerous articles and chapters based on this research project. 

My current research project is a qualitative, ethnography study of cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment programs which are currently being conducted by NGOs and by government initiatives in India. The focus is on how notions of risk and health are leveraged and packaged by healthcare providers of these screening initiatives and how notions of risk and health are conceptualized by members of the low-income communities where these projects are being implemented. I am also examining the experiences of low-income women living with these cancers.

Since 2010 I have also been engaged in a long-term archival research project about an early 19th century American missionary in South Asia. The title of this project is “A Biographical Sketch of Miron Winslow: Language, Education, Missionaries, and Identity Politics in Colonial Ceylon and India.”

Research Grants and Awards

Awards

Steven Polgar Paper Prize (2012) from the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association for the Best Paper Published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly in 2011-12 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for outstanding teaching, research and service by an untenured Maxwell School faculty member, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. (2007)

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize (2005) from the Association for Asian Studies to Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India for Best Book in South Asian Studies published in 2003

Research Grants

American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Senior Short Term Research Fellowship for four-month research project on “Socio-cultural Perspectives and Responses to Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment in Tamil Nadu, India.” (Fellowship awarded in 2014)

Appleby-Mosher Fund Award, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy, Syracuse University. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012.

American Institute for Indian Studies (AIIS) Senior Short Term Fellowship. 2008.

Fulbright Scholar Program Research Award. 2004.

Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, University of Notre Dame. 2002.

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Grant in Women's Studies 1997-98.

Fulbright Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship 1995-1996.

Selected Professional Activities

Vice President Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, Syracuse University Spring 2015-present

2010 - 2012, Trustee, American Institute for Indian Studies (AIIS)

2010 - 2012, Executive Committee Member and Trustee, South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI)

Director, National Resource Center for South Asian Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. August 2010 - August 2012.

Undergraduate Director, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University. August 2005 - August 2008.

Medical Anthropology Interest Group, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University. 2005-present. (Founder & Chair from 2005-2010).

Co-Director, Gender and Globalization Group. Moynihan Institute/Maxwell School, Syracuse University. 2005-2007.

Recent Activities

Published Profiles\Podcasts\ Radio Interviews on my Work

Times of India-Chennai. May 8, 2013. “Book on AIDS among Women Shows Despair, Courage in TN” by M.T. Saju. 

Georgetown University Asian Studies Multi-Media Podcast, Public Health in Asia Series: “Interview with Cecilia Van Hollen: ‘Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India’”: http://www.aspmedia.org/2013/featured/interview-with-cecilia-van-hollen-birth-in-the-age-of-aids-women-reproduction-and-hivaids-in-india/ April 24, 2013. 49 minutes.

“Getting to Know: Cultural anthropologist Cecilia Van Hollen” by Lindsey Briggs, Syracuse University News, January 15, 2013:  http://news.syr.edu/getting-to-know-cultural-anthropologist-cecilia-van-hollen/ [Also posted on the Syracuse University Website’s section on “Engaging the World”: http://syr.edu/]

“Indians and AIDS” by Renée Levy. In Maxwell Perspective. Spring 2009. 

“A Voice for South Asian Women: Cecilia Van Hollen” by Amy Shires In Syracuse University Magazine Winter 2006 – 07, Volume 23, No. 4.

Reading and discussion about my book, Birth on the Threshold: Childbirth and Modernity in South India, for Women’s Voices Radio program on “Childbirth and Motherhood: Beliefs and Practices Around the World,” WAER, Public Radio, Syracuse. April 7, 2005. 14 minutes.

Recent Invited Lectures

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India.” Presented at the Center on Health, Risk and Society (CHRS), American University. October 8, 2014. 

Lyceum Invited Speaker, “Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India.” Presented at Oxford College, Emory University. September 25, 2014.

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India.” Presented at the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESAS), Emory University, Atlanta. September 24, 2014.

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India” presented at the Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu Speakers Series. May 1, 2014. 

“AIDS Activism and Gender Justice for Widows in India” presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago. November 24, 2013. 

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction and HIV/AIDS in India” Presented at the USAID Bureau of Global Health, Washington, D.C. October 25, 2013. 

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India.” Presented at the French Institute of Pondicherry, India. July 24, 2013.

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in India.” Presented at Georgetown University in the "Global India" Series organized by The Office of the Dean of the School of Foreign Service, the Georgetown Asian Studies Program, and the Mortara Center for International Studies. February 16, 2012.

“Birth in the Age of AIDS: Women, Reproduction, and HIV/AIDS in South India” presented at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. April 23, 2010.

“From Global Health Initiatives to 'Resistance Sakti': Women's responses to the shifting terrain of policy for HIV/AIDS and infant feeding in India” presented at the South Asia Studies Council, Yale University. October 14, 2009.

“From Acceptability to 'Resistance Sakt': Women's responses to the shifting terrains of science and policy for HIV and infant feeding in South India” presented at McGill University, Department of Social Studies of Medicine. October 15, 2008.

“Poverty, Gender, and the State: Views for Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Tamil Nadu, India” presented at conference on “Poverty, Inequality, and the State in South Asia,” Sponsored by the North Carolina Center for South Asia Studies, and the University of North Carolina's Center for global Initiatives and the Center for Aging. Chapel Hill, N.C., January 11-13. 2008.

“HIV/AIDS and the Gendering of Stigma in Tamil Nadu, South India” presented at the University of Texas-Austin, South Asia Seminar on “New Directions in South Asia Studies,” October 18, 2007.

Professional Service

Professional Service Beyond Syracuse University (Selected)

2013-Present, Member, Selection Committee, Graduate Student Paper Prize, Council on the Anthropology of Reproduction, Society for Medical Anthropology, American Anthropological Association

2013  -14, Member, Women's Studies Fellowship Committee, Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women's Studies, Woodrow Wilson Foundation

2010 - 2012, Trustee, American Institute for Indian Studies (AIIS)

2010 - 2012, Executive Committee Member and Trustee, South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI)

2009 - Present, Society for Medical Anthropology Task Force on Healthcare Reform (Member)

2008 Charles Hughes Graduate Paper Prize Committee, Society for Medical Anthropology, American Anthropological Association (Member)

Professional Service Within Syracuse University (Selected)

Vice President (elected), Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, Syracuse University Spring 2015-present

Academic Senate (elected member), College of Arts & Sciences, Syracuse University. 2013-Present; 2008-2010.

Member, Senate Diversity Committee, College of Arts & Sciences, Syracuse University, 2013-present

Graduate Committee, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University. 2013-present; 2003-2006.

Medical Anthropology Interest Group, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University. 2005-present. (Founder & Chair from 2005-2010).

Director, National Resource Center for South Asian Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. August 2010 - August 2012.

Undergraduate Director, Department of Anthropology, Syracuse University. August 2005 - August 2008.

Steering Committee, Center for South Asian Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. 2005-2010.

Foreign Languages and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Committee, South Asia Center, Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs, Syracuse University. 2004-2008; Chair 2010-2012. 

Chair, Bharati Memorial Grant Committee, South Asia Center, Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs, Syracuse University. 2010-2012.

Procedures Committee, Department of Anthropology. 2010-2012.

Faculty Council, Arts & Sciences, Syracuse University. 2008-2009

Senate Committee on Women's Concerns. 2008-2010

Co-Director, Gender and Globalization Group. Moynihan Institute/Maxwell School, Syracuse University. 2005-2007.

SU Affiliations

Center for South Asian Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University

Consortium for Culture and Medicine (CCM): Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Le Moyne College