Kristin Gupta

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Kristin Gupta is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Rice University, where she specializes in death and dying, queer theory, and medical anthropology. Her dissertation project, “Dying Under Duress: Anthropogenic Crisis and American Deathcare” focuses on end of life doulas and their roles as “final responders” to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested in doulas’ objections to biomedical understandings of death and the logics of progress that lie at the heart of human life expectancy metrics, her research critically examines emergent forms of care and how some have come to come to embrace mortality in a cultural context that has largely been adverse to death and the forms of biological permeability it entails.

Before beginning her Ph.D., Kristin earned an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Washington and a B.A. in International Political Economy from the University of Puget Sound. Her master’s theses comparatively explored themes of gender, sexuality, violence, and bodies within the contexts of the American gay rodeo competition circuit and feminist animal activism in Bhopal, India.

At Rice, Kristin is an incoming Media Specialist for the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and a former co-coordinator of The Ethnography Studio. She also serves as a Contributing Editor for the Society for Cultural Anthropology and is the graduate representative for the Association for Queer Anthropology. More broadly, she is affiliated with the Queer Death Studies Network and has recently undertaken collaborative research projects on mortality and slow disaster with the Disaster STS Network and Center of Ethnography at the University of California Irvine.

Research Areas

New burial technologies; affect; queer death studies; feminist theory, end of life doulas, new materialism; medical anthropology; purity politics; India and the United States