Class of '57 Career Development Associate Professor of Anthropology
areas of expertise: anthropology of food, american food politics, artisan cheese, contemporary craft movements, social significance of reproductive technologies
Heather Paxson received her BA from Haverford College (1990), majoring in anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, and her MA (1992) and PhD (1998) in anthropology from Stanford University. Before coming to MIT, she taught at Stanford University, Princeton University, New York University and Pitzer College.
Her work explores how people grapple with changing socioeconomic conditions and new bioscientific knowledge through everyday ethical practices, especially those having to do with reproduction and food. In the 1990s, she conducted two years of doctoral fieldwork in Athens, Greece, on changing ideas about motherhood and fertility control. Making Modern Mothers: Ethics and Family Planning in Urban Greece was published in 2004 by University of California Press. She is now at work on an ethnographic study of American artisanal cheesemakers funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.
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