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Alvaro Jarrin


Sociology and Anthropology Department

Associate Professor 
Ph.D., Duke University


Fields: medical anthropology; science and technology studies; race, class and gender inequality in Latin America; queer theory; social justice; environmental activism

• CV (PDF) »      

Office Phone: 508-793-2774
Office: Beaven 216
PO Box: 197A
Office Hours


Alvaro E. Jarrín received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University in 2010.  His research, broadly speaking, examines the development of new biotechnologies and their relationship to the anthropological study of medicine, the body and inequality in Latin America.  He has carried out ethnographic research in Brazil on the expansion of plastic surgery amongst low-income patients, and is preparing a book manuscript that examines how the national investment in beauty establishes personal appearance as a precondition for citizenship and inclusion in the nation.  Prof. Jarrín has two ongoing research projects on genomics in Latin America: one which examines the surprising role of Brazilian genomics within the affirmative action debate, and another project that analyzes Waorani accusations of biopiracy carried out by American research institutes in alliance with oil companies within the Ecuadorian Amazon.  Prof. Jarrín is also very interested in the controversy over oil exploitation within the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador.

Prof. Jarrín teaches courses on medical anthropology, gender and sexuality, the cyborg self, inequality in Latin America, and the anthropology of capitalism, as well as a seminar entitled “The Age of Biotechnology.”  His recent publications include:

Recent Publications

  • 2016. “Untranslatable Subjects: Travesti Access to Public Healthcare in Brazil.” Accepted for publication in a forthcoming issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly
  • 2015.  “Towards a Biopolitics of Beauty: Eugenics, Aesthetic Hierarchies and Plastic Surgery in Brazil.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies.  24 (4): 535-552.
  • 2013.  “Favela Models: Sexual Virtue and Hopeful Narratives of Beauty in Brazil.”  In Girls’ Sexualities and the Media.  Edited by Kate Harper, Yasmina Katsulis, Vera Lopez, and Georganne Scheiner Gillis.  New York: Peter Lang.
  • 2012.  “The Rise of the Cosmetic Nation: Plastic Governmentality and Hybrid Medical Practices in Brazil.”  Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness,31 (3): 213-228.
  • 2011.  “The New Architects of Miscegenation: the eugenic legacy within Brazilian plastic surgery (Os Novos Arquitetos da Miscegenação: o legado eugênico na cirurgia plástica brasileira).” Revista Magistro: Revista do Programa de Pósgraduação em Letras e Ciências Humanas.  1 (1): 64-74.


  • ANTH 255 - Genders and Sexualities in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • ANTH 299 - The Cyborg Self
  • ANTH 320 - Theory in Anthropology
  • ANTH 351 - The Anthropology of Biotechnology