Anthony Wright, PhD

Anthony Wright, PhD
Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Department of Childhood Studies
Rutgers University-Camden
329 Cooper Street – Room 205

Anthony Wright is a medical anthropologist whose work focuses on how social inequalities and the institutional arrangements that produce and sustain them shape how young people inhabit situations of illness and violence. He holds a PhD in medical anthropology from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (2019) and a BA in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin (2010). He is currently working on a book manuscript titled The Promise of Poison: Faith, Doubt, and the Techniques of Pediatric Cancer Treatment. The book draws on 18 months of ethnographic research at a children’s hospital in California. It shows how patients and families, who inhabit a broad range of identities and structural locations, become participants in the culture of pediatric cancer treatment, which is structured by morally charged representations of child- and parenthood, as well as by secular faith in oncological expertise and the biomedical technologies on which it depends. In addition to his research on pediatric cancer treatment, Anthony is also working on an ethnographic project focused on techniques of youth activism against violence and environmental exploitation among the Purépecha, an Indigenous group residing in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Anthony’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the UC Berkeley Center for Race and Gender, and the UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. He has published work in Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry; The Journal of Urban Health; and Global Studies of Childhood. The classes he teaches include Childhood and Violence; Childhood and Pediatric Biomedicine; Digital Youth Cultures; Digital Research Methods; and Interpretive Methods.          


Ph.D. Joint Program in Medical Anthropology (2019) – Unversity of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco

B.A. in Anthropology (2010) – University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests:

Cultures of pediatric biomedicine; youth and digital technologies; youth activism and the politics of indigeneity; United States and Mexico.  

Courses being taught at Rutgers-Camden:

Childhood and Violence; Childhood and Pediatric Biomedicine; Digital Youth Cultures; Digital Research Methods; and Interpretive Methods

View Full CV Here


Refereed Journal Articles

2020    “Where Your Voice Burns Like Fire”: Visual Art and Radio Broadcasting as Modes of Intergenerational Political Socializaiton amoung the Purepecha of Cheran, Mexico.” with Jurhamuti Jose Velazquez Morales. Global Studies of Childhood. Invited submission for special issue on “children’s art in times of crisis,” to be published December 2020.

2016    “Protecting urban health and safety: balancing care and harm in the era of mass incarceration.” with Nadia Gaber. Journal of Urban Health, 93 (Supplement 1): 68-77. Special issue on police brutality, Hannah L. Cooper and Mindy Fullilove (eds.)

2015    “Identifying Pious and Heretical Citizens in a Permanent Supported Housing Community.” Care Management Journals 16 (1): 30-40.

 2012    “Social Defeat in Recovery-Oriented Supported Housing: Moral Experience, Stigma, and Ideological Resistance.” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 37 (1): 660-678.

Peer-Reviewed Chapters

2018a   “El sueño de la antropología aplicada: La etnografía del campesinado y la voluntad de mejorar.” In Pioneros de la antropología en Michoacán, Lorena Ojéda Dávila (ed.) Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo Press.

2018b   “Más allá del progresismo y el romanticismo: La on-ramp antropógica de Stanley Brandes en Tzintzuntzan.” In Pioneros de la antropología en Michoacán, Lorena Ojéda Dávila (ed.) Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo Press.

Online Publications

2020     “Datafied Care: Digital Health Technologies and Profitability in the US Health Care System.” Critical Care, Medical Anthropology Quarterly Blog. Election Year Series. 

 2018     “Pediatric Cancer, Racial Formation, and the Existential Weight of Anti-Blackness.” Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Fellows Working Papers.

 2015    “Violence: On the Dangerous Edges.” Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Fall 2015.


2018                       Dissertation Completion Fellowship, UC Berkeley

2017                       Center for Race and Gender Graduate Student Research Grant, UC Berkeley

2017                       Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Graduate Fellows Program, UC Berkeley

2015                       Berkeley Fellowship, UC Berkeley

2013                       National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Conference Activity/Participation 

 Presented Papers

 2020    Ethnographic Contamination: Thoughts on the Problem of Anthropologists as Vectors.

 2018     Oncological Timescapes: Pediatric Cancer and the Revision of Biographical Time. Maps, Fictions, Timelines: Institutional Times. American Anthropological Association 117th Annual Meeting, November 25, 2018.. San Jose, CA.

 2017     Adolescent Cancer in the Era of Mass Incarceration. Lineages of (Dis)Inheritance, Legacies of Kinship. American Anthropological Association 116th Annual Meeting, December 3, 2017. Washington DC.

 2016     La voluntad para saber y mejorar: Antropología aplicada, gobernanza y desarrollo internacional en Michoacán. Pioneros de la Antropología en Michoacán. IV Congreso Mexicano de Antropología Social y Etnología, October 2016, Queretaro, Mexico.   

2015     The New Character Education: Rhetorics of Anti-Fixity. A More Perfect Child: Expert Visions of Children and Childhood. Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group Conference. March 2015, Long Beach, CA.

2013     Ethnographic Workshop: Narrating Perspectives: How We Ask, What We Write. With Tanya M. Luhrmann, Neely Laurenzo Myers, Cheryl Mattingly, Mary-Jo Delvecchio Good, and Byron Good. Society for Psychological Anthropology Biennial Conference, April 2013, San Diego, CA.

Organized Panels

2015     A More Perfect Child: Expert Visions of Children and Childhood. With Nadia Gaber, Melina Salvador, and Karina Vasilevska-Das. Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group Conference, March 2015, Long Beach, CA.

Campus Talks

2018     Black Families, Cancer, and the Existential Weight of Racism. The Political Economy of Intervention: Education and Biomedicine in the Neoliberal Era. UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues Graduate Fellows Program. Thursday, April 26, 2018.

2015     Police Brutality and Mass Incarceration: A Crisis in Public Health. With Nadia Gaber. Radical Pedagogies for Medicine, Community Workers, and Patients Working Group, UC Berkeley. September 15, 2015.

2010     Welcome to Pinewood: An Ethnographic Account of Poverty and Illness in Permanent Supported Housing. UT-Austin Dept. of Anthropology Honors Thesis Presentations. May 2010, Austin, TX.

2009     Poverty and Illness in Recovery-Oriented Supported Housing. UT- Austin Undergraduate Research Week Poster Session.

Teaching Experience

Rutgers University, Camden, Department of Childhood Studies/Digital Studies Program

Childhood and Pediatric Medicine, Undergraduate, Instructor, (Fall 2020, Spring 2020)

Childhood and Violence, Graduate, Instructor, (Spring 2020)

Digital Research Methods, Graduate, Instructor. (Fall 2020)

Digital Youth Cultures, Undergraduate, Instructor, (Fall 2019)

University of California, Berkeley, Department of Anthropology

Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology, Teaching Assistant, (Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Summer 2015)

Public Anthropology, Teaching Assistant, (Spring 2015)

Critical Medical Anthropology, Teaching Assistant, (Spring 2015)

Additional Research Experience 

June 2012 – Dec. 2012             Research Assistant

Center for Social Work Research, UT-Austin
Supervisor: Teresa Granillo, PhD
Helped code qualitative interview data on the experiences of Latina college students using campus mental health services.

March 2012                              Editorial Assistant

Book manuscript: Rethinking Autonomy: A Critique of Principilism in Biomedical Ethics) John Traphagan, PhDDepartment of Religious Studies UT-AustinFeb. 2011 – June 2013
Research Assistant
Student Division, College of Liberal Arts UT-Austin
Supervisor: Marc Musick, PhD

Helped prepare grant proposals for college programs aimed at facilitating academic success among first generation students.         

Community Involvement/Outreach

August 2015 – May 2016          Organizer, Experiments in Radical Medicine, UC Berkeley

June – July 2014                       Volunteer, Associación Mexicana de Ayuda a Niños con Cáncer, Morelia,                                                                     Michoacán, Mexico

Nov. – Dec. 2010                      Volunteer, Casa Hogar (Children’s Shelter) Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico

Oct. – Dec. 2010                      Volunteer English Instructor

Escuela Secundaria de Zirahuén Zirahuén, Michoacán, Mexico

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

  • American Anthropological Association, Member
  • Society for Medical Anthropology, Member
  • Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, Member