Jan Brunson, Faculty, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Jan Brunson

Associate Professor
Office: Saunders 309
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-2007
Email: jbrunson@hawaii.edu

Browse My Publications:

UH Award Winner

College of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019)


I am the product of a strong liberal arts education, including the opportunity as an undergraduate to conduct research with my advisor in Sri Lanka. This launched a life-long career as a teacher-scholar in sociocultural anthropology through which I focus on health inequities, particularly women's health in Nepal. I pursued a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University, taught for three years at Bowdoin College, and now serve as an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at UHM. I welcome graduate students who have topical interests in gender and health, globalization and biomedicine, or critical global health. I also welcome those who desire to specialize in the areas of Nepal, the Himalayas, or broader South Asia.


  • PhD, Anthropology, Brown University, 2008
  • MA, Anthropology, Brown University, 2001
  • BA, Anthropology, Eckerd College, 1999


  • ANTH 152: Culture and Humanity
  • ANTH 301: Culture and Health
  • ANTH 315: Sex and Gender
  • ANTH 370: Ethnographic Field Techniques
  • ANTH 442: Globalization and Identity in the Himalayas
  • ANTH 463: Anthropology of Global Health and Development
  • ANTH 465: Science, Sex, and Reproduction
  • ANTH 663: Anthropology of Global Aid
  • ANTH 710: Seminar in Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology


My research intertwines medical anthropology, critical demography, and cultural studies of science, technology, and medicine. I have conducted ethnographic research in Nepal for two decades on global projects of inventory and intervention alongside Nepali women’s projects of reproduction and family making. My portfolio includes studies of family planning discourses, maternal health in resource-poor and disaster settings, and the standardization of time in obstetrics. My first book, Planning Families in Nepal: Global and Local Projects of Reproduction, offers an account of Hindu Nepali women as they negotiate conflicting global and local ideals regarding reproduction. My second book, co-edited with Nancy Riley, showcases scholarship from around the globe on gender and demographic processes.

Community Engagement

Chair of the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction from 2015-2017.