Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics

Katrina Karkazis, PhD, MPH

Phone: (650) 736-8007
Email: karkazis AT stanford DOT edu
Personal website:

Katrina A. Karkazis, PhD, MPH is an anthropologist with an interest in cultural and social aspects of disease and illness categories, treatment practices, health policy, and lived experience; the biomedicalization of difference; and social movements around health.

She recently completed a multi-sited ethnography of contemporary controversies over medical treatment for infants with intersex conditions (also known as Disorders of Sex Development) in the United States. Her book based on this research, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience, was published by Duke University Press in 2008. Dr. Karkazis' research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council and The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Individual Research Grant and the Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship).

She frequently speaks to academic, clinical, and lay audiences about her research, including the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, the Society for the Social Studies of Science, American Association of Law Schools, the American Psychological Association, and the Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society. She has also been interviewed about her work by the New York Times.

In addition to her research activities, she has lectured on a wide range of issues at the interface between medicine and society having taught at the undergraduate and graduate level in schools of social sciences, public health, and medicine at Stanford and Columbia Universities, as well as Mills College. Through her teaching, she has sought to complicate an understanding of biomedicine by exploring multiple domains: the market relations that commodify health care; the work sites in which medical practices are articulated; the research arenas that transform medical knowledge, practice, and technologies; the systems of cultural meaning within which ideas of health and disease circulate; the social inequalities that structure the experience of illness and access to care; the social movements that challenge biomedical authority and expertise; and the bodies and selves that experience and are remade by illness. She is currently course coordinator and instructor for The Responsible Conduct of Research courses (Med255 and Med255C).

Dr. Karkazis received a PhD in medical and cultural anthropology from Columbia University, where she also received a Masters in Public Health in maternal and child health. She subsequently completed postdoctoral training in empirical bioethics at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University, where she currently holds the position of Senior Research Scholar. Her undergraduate degree is in Public Policy from Occidental College.


Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
1215 Welch Road, Modular A
Stanford, CA  94305-5417
fax: (650) 725-6131


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