Anastasia Karakasidou

Professor of Anthropology

Social anthropologist doing research,  writing and teaching on the topics of health, illness and cancer.

Anastasia Karakasidou was born in Greece and studied chemistry, archaeology and anthropology in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University (1992) where she received training in social theory and historical anthropology. She conducted her dissertation fieldwork in Northern Greece, where she examined issues of ethnicity. national consciousness and agrarian transformations. Dr. Karakasidou's book Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood: Passages to Nationhood in Greek Macedonia, 1870-1990 (University of Chicago Press, 1997) is a historical ethnography that offers an analysis of nationalism and ethnic rivalry in the Balkans, in general, and in Greek Macedonia, in particular. Topics such as the role of intellectuals, women, and the Greek Communist Party in national ideology construction in Greece were also explored in her published articles. She also published a series of essays that trace the competing nationalist ideologies that divided the ethnically diverse communities in an area of Greece that border Yugoslavia and Albania.. In this work, Anastasia Karakasidou, through the use of both governmental archival sources, and archival sources, and oral historical reconstructions, examines such important issues as administrative goals, policing and conscripting policies, staging of national holidays and the veneration of national heroes.

Since 2001, Professor Karakasidou is researching, writing and teaching on the topics of health, illness and cancer. She has conducted multi-sited ethnographic research in the Chine province of Yunan, in the Greek island of Crete, and in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts. A book entitled "Cultures of Cancer" aspires to bring the history and analysis of cancer narratives and social experiences in these three societies.

Professor Karakasidou is also very interested in her teaching at Wellesley. She has offered courses that range from evolution and diversity, to ethnographic writing, to contemporary anthropological theory, to Orientalist discourse, the vulnerable body and the cultures of cancer. She enjoys student-teacher interaction and she encourages independent and critical thinking. Combining teaching with research and writing, Professor Karakasidou offers a view of anthropology as living practice to her students.


  • B.A., College of Wooster
  • M.A., Brandeis University
  • M.A., Bryn Mawr College
  • M.Phil., Columbia University
  • Ph.D., Columbia University

Current and upcoming courses

  • This course will introduce students to the anthropology of science and the use of anthropological methodology to study the making of science and technology. Through the analysis of case studies of biotechnology, energy, computing, lay and activist science, medicine, genetics, bioethics, the environment and conservation around the world, this class will investigate the global dynamics of science and technology. We will compare and contrast the production and use of scientific knowledge around the globe. What happens when science and technology travel and how do new places emerge as centers of knowledge production? How are culture, identity, technology, and science linked?