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Dissertation Defense: William J. Robertson


May 17 2021 - 9:00am

May 17, 2021
9:00 a.m.

Via Zoom

Title: Dirt and Care: Queer Care in an Anal Dysplasia Clinic

Abstract: Based on twelve months of ethnographic research at an anal cancer prevention clinic, this dissertation explores how clinicians respond to and manage the anxieties that emerge from undergoing anal cancer prevention procedures. I develop a queer theory of care that draws together insights from classic anthropological theories of dirt and taboo with contemporary queer theory and anthropological scholarship on care. I argue that the staff at this anal cancer prevention clinic practice a uniquely queer form of care that resists the anal taboo, disrupts heteronormativity, and celebrates and affirms queer and trans subjectivities. The dissertation aims to challenge the inadvertent reproduction of heteronormativity in anthropological studies of care.

Committee: Dr. Eric Plemons (Co-Chair, University of Arizona), Dr. Susan J. Shaw (Co-Chair, UMass Amherst), Dr. Mark Nichter (University of Arizona), Dr. Susan Stryker (University of Arizona), Dr. Victor Braitberg (University of Arizona)


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