Medical and cultural anthropology, infectious disease, death and dying, India, United States
Office hours: TW 3:00-5PM, sign up on sheet posted outside office door. Drop-ins welcome, but preference given to students signed up.
Fall 2012 Courses
Anth 241 Death and Dying
Anth 381 Emerging Infections
Spring 2013 Courses (Expected)
Anth 111 Cultural Anthropology
Anth 239 Medical Anthropology
Anth 380 Advanced Medical Anthropology
Ron Barrett is a cultural and medical anthropologist whose research has focused on the social aspects of infectious diseases, religious healing, and the ways that human beings come to terms with their mortality. He has conducted fieldwork in Northern and Western India as well as in the United States.
Dr. Barrett received his Masters and Ph.D. in Anthropology at Emory University (1998 & 2002). He conducted his doctoral research in the northern Indian pilgrimage city of Banaras (a.k.a. Varanasi) where he studied the healing practices of an unorthodox Indian sect known as the Aghori and their patients with leprosy and other socially stigmatized diseases. This research is the subject of a book, Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India, published by the University of California Press in 2008. This book was awarded the Wellcome Medal for medical anthropology by the Royal Anthropological Institute. He has also conducted U.S.-based research on the social dynamics of family caregivers in home hospice.
More recently, Dr. Barrett conducted NSF-sponsored research on health-seeking for influenza-like illnesses in a western Indian slum community. He has co-edited a reader with Peter J. Brown,Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology (2nd Edition), published by McGraw-Hill in 2009. In addition to several book and encyclopedia chapters, he has articles published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Medical Anthropology, The Annual Review of Anthropology, and The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
He received his bachelors degrees in anthropology from the University of Colorado (1990) and in nursing from Johns Hopkins University (1992). He has worked as a clinical nurse in hospice, brain injury rehabilitation, and neuro-intensive care. Prior to joining the faculty at Macalester, Dr. Barrett taught in the Department of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford University for five years, and in the Emory School of Nursing and Department of Anthropology for two years. He has taught courses in medical anthropology, emerging infections, ethnographic methods, and social theory. In addition, he has taught overseas seminars on religion and healing in northern India, and a comparative health systems course in Oxford, England. He has also taught service-learning courses in which students volunteered at a local area hospice in conjunction with didactic seminars on the anthropology of death and dying.
Dr. Barrett (a.k.a. “Dr. Ron”) joined the anthropology faculty at Macalester in August, 2009. He teaches courses in medical anthropology, cultural anthropology, emerging infections, and the anthropology of death and dying.
Defense Against the Dark Arts
Ron Barrett co-taught this unconventional anthropology/religion class that drew an enthusiastic crowd of students. More