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This Anthropology

Christa Craven
Photo for Christa Craven

Affiliation: The College of Wooster, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Department: Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Location: Wooster, OH, UNITED STATES



Biography: Christa Craven is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (Chair from 2012-2017) at the College of Wooster. She received her B.A. New College of Florida (1997), M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2003) from American University. Craven’s research interests include women’s health & reproductive justice, lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer reproduction, midwifery activism, feminist ethnography & activist scholarship, and feminist pedagogy. She is the author of Reproductive Losses: Challenges to LGBTQ Family-Making (Routledge, 2019), Pushing for Midwives: Homebirth Mothers and the Reproductive Rights Movement (Temple University Press, 2010), and a textbook with Dána-Ain Davis, Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges & Possibilities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Craven and Davis also published an edited collection entitled Feminist Activist Ethnography: Counterpoints to Neoliberalism in North America (Lexington Books, 2013). She has served on the American Anthropological Association’s Governance Commission (2005-2007), is the past co-chair of the Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (2004-2005; now the Association for Queer Anthropology), and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Program Administrators and Directors (PA&D) for the National Women’s Studies Association. She teaches Introduction to WGSS, Transnational Feminisms, Queer Lives, Doing Feminist Research: Theory & Practice, Feminist Pedagogy in Action, Introduction to Anthropology, Ethnographic Research, Global Politics of Reproduction, and Globalizing Health (with Dr. Tom Tierney in Sociology). Her professional website is:

Subfield: Cultural Anthropology

Job Type: Academic

Interests/Specialty Areas:


I went into Anthro because: I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I found anthropology entirely by accident. I walked into a classroom thinking it was social psychology, but I encountered Dr. Maria Vesperi (at New College) talking about the study of different cultures. As someone who had moved around a lot as a child—from Virginia to Hawai’i to Taiwan and Germany—I was mesmerized. I remember thinking “wow, I’ve never heard of cultural anthropology, but this is what I want to do with my life!” A few years later, I went t

My latest research is: Feminist researchers have long valued the ways that our personal experiences frequently intersect with the theoretical and political work of our scholarship. When my partner and I experienced the loss of our first child together, I unwittingly became a “participant-observer,” albeit reluctantly, in my role as a grieving parent. Despite the painful nature of this experience, the lack of resources we found that included our family compelled me to connect with other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transg

My favorite text is: This is such a hard question because there are so many anthropological texts and ethnographies that I love! Right now though, what is sitting on my desk as I work on my book about LGBTQ experiences with reproductive loss is Kirin Narayan’s _Alive in the Writing_. It is a book I assign in my “Ethnographic Research” course, and one I find indispensible when I need inspiration to write engaging and meaningful ethnographic work.

My advice to potential anthropologists is: Read lots of different research. Find what inspires you. What do you want your own work to look like? Go to conferences. Meet like-minded folks. Create a supportive community and enjoy the journey together …