Robin Root, an assistant professor of anthropology in the Sociology and Anthropology Department of Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, has won the Society of Medical Anthropology’s (SMA) 2007 Polgar Prize for best paper published in the organization’s journal, Medical Anthropology Quarterly. The prize includes a $500 cash award.
Root’s winning paper, “ ‘Mixing’ as an Ethnoetiology of HIV/AIDS in Malaysia’s Multinational Factories,” examines a fear that the “mixing of the sexes” behind factory walls translates to “sexual mixing” among the races. The paper explores how the government’s labeling of factories as “high-risk settings” for HIV/AIDS demonstrates specific economic, religious, and scientific effects of globalization.
As a medical anthropologist, Root’s current research explores the theoretical and applied interactions between anthropology, political economy, and public health in Swaziland (Southern Africa). Over the past decade, medical anthropology has produced a critical shift in discourses of risk and vulnerability, narrating how poverty diminishes, at an exponential rate, the ability of individuals and communities to mitigate the manifold threats to survival and sustainable development they face.
“The Baruch community is very proud of Professor Root’s wonderful achievement,” said Baruch College President Kathleen Waldron.
Root earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA, and has published research on marketing in the Middle East for the Harvard Business School and spent a decade in the private sector. As Director of Research at The Phelps Stokes Fund, she managed an interdisciplinary HIV/AIDS research partnership called Knowledge in Action between NYU and the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has been teaching at Baruch since 2005.