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Prof. Ellen Block


Ellen Block received her PhD in Anthropology and Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2012.  She joined us in 2014 from Brown University in Providence, RI, where she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Population Studies and Training Center.

Her ongoing research examines how the AIDS pandemic has affected orphan care and the structure and makeup of the family in rural Lesotho. From an ethnographic perspective, she explores how everyday strategies of household caregiving practices have led to wider demographic shifts in the wake of the AIDS pandemic. Ellen's most recent fieldwork, funded by a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant, investigates a potentially devastating emergent shift. Grandmothers, who currently carry the majority of the burden of care for AIDS orphans, are part of the last generation of virtually HIV-free southern Africans. As this generation of grandparents passes away, her research investigates the impact this shift will have on everyday practices of orphan care.  Her work has most recently appeared in JRAI, Anthropological Quarterly, AIDS Care, and Social Dynamics.  She is currently working on a book manuscript on HIV/AIDS and orphan Care in Lesotho.

SJU Office: 114 Simons

[email protected]


Fall 2016 Courses

SOCI 121 Introduction to Anthropology (SS)  (IC)

          TR       12:45 pm- 2:05 pm          

Anthropology is very broadly defined as the study of humankind across space and time.  The course units include four-field examinations of culture, race, human evolution, family and kinship, gender and sexuality, social hierarchy, nation-states, politics and violence, progress, and development.

SOCI 337I Global Health, Culture, & Inequality

          TR  9:35am-10:55 am                        

This course applies anthropological methods, theories and perspectives to the field of global health.  In particular, we will look at the inequalities that persist throughout the world's    populations, with clear geographical, economic and all-too-often ethnic and racial divides. 


Spring 2017 Courses

SOCI 121         Introduction to Anthropology (SS)  (IC)

     TR 9:35am-10:55am    

SOCI 322         Transnational Anthropology

     TR 12:45pm-2:05pm   

SOCI 337C       Anthropology of Africa

     TR 2:20pm-3:40pm     


More information about Prof. Ellen Block, including her publications, can be found on her CV or her page.