Eric Plemons (On Junior Professional Development Leave Spring 2019)

About Eric Plemons (On Junior Professional Development Leave Spring 2019)

I am a medical anthropologist focused on surgical practice and the production, circulation and application of expert knowledge on gendered bodies. My first book, The Look of a Woman (2017, Duke University Press), examines Facial Feminization Surgery, a series of bone and soft tissue reconstructive surgeries intended to feminize the faces of trans- women. My current projects include multisited ethnographic research investigating how US institutions are responding to a growing demand for trans- healthcare, and a literature-based analysis of how trans- surgical outcomes are studied and clinically assessed. Focused on knowledge and how it moves in the form of embodied and institutional practices, my research has been problem- rather than place-based. Working out from the contemporary conditions of US trans- medicine, my ethnographic work in surgical clinics has taken me to Northern Europe and South America. 


My research engages theories of sex and gender, the critical study of science and medicine, political economies of medicine and medical innovation, trans- studies, anthropological theories of practice, and the studies of technology and technique.


I am a core faculty member in the Transgender Studies Initiative here at University of Arizona.

Selected Publications

2017   The Look of a Woman: Facial feminization surgery and the aims of trans- medicine. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. **Winner of the 2017 Ruth Benedict Book Prize**

2017    Formations of Femininity: science and aesthetics in facial feminization surgery. Medical Anthropology. [DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2017.1298593]

2015   Anatomical Authorities: On the epistemological exclusion of trans- surgical patients. Medical Anthropology.   [DOI:10.1080/01459740.2015.1036264]

2014 Description of Sex Difference as Prescription for Sex Change: On the Origin of Facial Feminization Surgery. Social Studies of Science 44(5): 657-679. [DOI: 10.1177/0306312714531349]
2014  It Is As It Does: Genital Form and Function in Sex Reassignment Surgery. Journal of Medical Humanities 35(1): 37-55. [DOI: 10.1007/s10912-013-9267-z]
2013 The Surgical Suite. Journal of Medical Humanities 34(2): 245-247. Invited submission for special issue, Queer In The Clinic 
[DOI: 10.1007/s10912-013-9227-7]
2010 Envisioning The Body in Relation: finding sex, changing sex.  In The Body Reader: Essential Social and Cultural Readings. Lisa Jean Moore and Mary Kosut, eds. New York: New York University Press. Pp. 317-328. (Collection for undergraduate readers)

Courses Taught

ANTH 150 Many Ways of Being Human

ANTH 325 Bodies in Medicine

ANTH 406 Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality 

ANTH 444 Introduction to Medical Anthropology

ANTH 536 The Body, Health, and Illness

ANTH 696B Sex, Gender, Science, Medicine

Eric Plemons (On Junior Professional Development Leave Spring 2019)'s picture

Contact Information

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Telephone: 520-621-3102
Office: Haury 315
Office Hours: Wed 1-3pm, or by appt


PhD Univ of California, Berkeley

MA Univ of Chicago

BA DePauw University