Mimi Nichter

Professor Emerita of Anthropology

About Mimi Nichter

I am an engaged anthropologist working in sociocultural and medical anthropology. I have long standing interests in gender and health in the United States as well as in South and Southeast Asia. I have an extensive background working in adolescent and emerging adult health,as well maternal and child health. I have conducted fieldwork in the U.S., South India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Much of my work has an applied component which involves moving from research to the development of culturally appropriate interventions.

A book (writen with colleague Nicole Taylor) A Filtered Life: Social Media on a College Campus (Routledge, 2022) has recently been published. Drawing on interviews and digital ethnographic data gleaned from popular social media sites, we document and make visible routinized practices that are typically hidden and operating behind the scenes. Other books include Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking among College Students (NYU Press 2015), Fat Talk: What Girls and their Parents Say about Dieting (Harvard University Press, 2000), and Anthropology and International Health: Asian Case Studies (and Mark Nichter, Routledge, 1996).

In addition to these books, I have published over 75 articles on a range of topics including the global marketing of tobacco to women, body image, contemporary beauty practices in urban India, and the social life of yoga among global practitioners in India. 

I have received funding from the Mayo Clinic for a project on smoking in Turkey, the National Institutes of Health to develop capacity for tobacco cessation in India and Indonesia, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for research on smoking in the US, among other funding agencies. 

I am currently working on a memoir entitled Released, about my experience as a hijack hostage.


Selected Publications


Nichter, Mimi. Lighting Up: The Rise of Social Smoking on College Campuses. 

New York University Press, January 2015.

Nichter, Mimi.  Fat Talk: What Girls and their Parents Say About Dieting. Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 2000.  (translated into Chinese, 2002).

Nichter, Mark and Nichter, MimiAnthropology and International Health: Asian Case Studies.

New York: Routledge Press, 1996.

Selected Articles:

Nichter, Mimi. The social life of yoga: Exploring transnational flows in India. In Beatrix Hauser (editor) Yoga Traveling: Bodily Practice in Transcultural Perspective. Germany; Springer Press 2013.

Kaufman, N. and Nichter, Mimi. The marketing of tobacco to women: Global perspectives. In Gender, Women and the Tobacco Epidemic. (edited by J. Samet & S.Y.Yoon). World Health Organization, Geneva, 2010.

Nichter, M., Nichter, Mimi, Padmawathi, S., & Thresia, C.U. Anthropological Contributions to the Development of Culturally Appropriate Tobacco Cessation Programs: A global health priority. In Anthropology and Public Health, R. Hahn & M. Inhorn (editors). Oxford University Press, 2009.

Nichter, Mimi. Adolescent Health: A Social Ecological Perspective. In Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health, Jeannine Coreil (editor), Sage Press, 2008.

Hingle, M., Nichter, Mimi, Mederios, M., Grace, S. Texting for health: The Use of Participatory Methods to Develop Healthy Lifestyle Messages for Teens. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 45(1), 2013. 

Nichter, Mimi, Borden, Lynn, and Przybl, Veronica. The Role of Program Leaders in the Use of Technology: Challenges and Opportunities for Youth-Serving Organizations. Journal of Youth Development – Bridging Research and Practice. 8 (3), 2013, 83-92.

Amos, A., Greaves, L., Nichter, Mimi, Bloch, M. Women and tobacco: a call for including gender in tobacco control research, policy and practice. Tobacco Control, 2012, 21:236-243.

Ritenbaugh, C., Nichter, Mimi, Nichter, M., Kelly, K., Sims, C. Bell, I, Castaneda, H., et al. Developing a patient-centered outcome measure for complementary and alternative medicine therapies I: Defining content and format. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.

Yuan, N., Castaneda, H., Nichter, M., Nichter, M., Wind, S., Carruth, L. and Muramoto, M. Lay health influencers: how they tailor brief tobacco cessation interventions. Health Education & Behavior (published online first, October 10, 2011).

Nichter, Mimi, Nichter, Mark, Carkoglu, A., Lloyd-Richardson, E. Smoking and drinking among college students: “It’s a package deal”. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010, 106, 16-20.

Nichter, Mark and Nichter, Mimi. Revisiting the Concept of Karma: Lessons from a Dhanvantari Homa. Journal of Ritual Studies, 24(2): 37-55, 2010.

Courses Taught

World Ethnography (Anthropology 315)

Ethnographic Research Methods (Anthropology 407)

Qualitative Research Methods/ Grant Writing (Anthropology 605)

Global Youth Culture (Anthropology 696)

Adolescent Health (Anthropology 495)

Drugs and Society (forthcoming)


Areas of Study

South Asia (India, Sri Lanka)


Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines)

Southwest US

North America (general)

Research Interests

Adolescents and emerging adults; health cultures

Social media use among college students

Field areas: South India (Karnataka, Kerala); Indonesia; Turkey; U.S.

Tobacco use in the U.S. and in global settings

Body image and dieting; Changing beauty images globally

M-health: developing health related text messages for teens and emerging adults

Obesity/ physical activity:  developing culturally appropriate programs for healthy eating

Yoga: transnational flows