Nancy Scheper-Hughes is a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. She has conducted field research on madness among bachelor farmers in rural Ireland; AIDS and human rights in Cuba; death squads and street kids; mother love and child death in the shantytowns of Brazil; popular justice in South African squatter camps; and invisible genocides among native Californians. A so-called militant anthropologist, she focuses in her writings on suffering, violence, and death as they are experienced on the margins of the third world.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Scheper-Hughes will complete a book based on a ten-year, multisited study of the global traffic in “fresh” organs procured from desperate kidney sellers for affluent transplant tourists, an uncivil practice she views as a form of sacrificial violence. Transplant practices, even illicit ones, give a unique view of who we are and how we imagine ourselves and our bodies in relation to others.
Scheper-Hughes is the recipient of many grants, awards, and book prizes, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Margaret Mead Award, the Wellcome Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Staley Prize from the School for American Research. Her book Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (University of California Press, 1992) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Scheper-Hughes has taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; at Manchester University, UK; and at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is a frequent keynote speaker in North America, Latin America, and Europe.