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Sameena MullaAssociate Professor - WGSS

Sameena Mulla is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. Her work examines the intersections of legal and medical approaches in U.S. interventions into sexual violence, and the ways in which they are invested in regimes of gender, race, and power. In particular, her research maintains a focus on the ways in which healthcare, law, and policing configure sexual violence as a social and political wound. She was recognized with the American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology’s Margaret Mead Award in 2017 for her first book, The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention (New York University Press, 2014). The book was also awarded an honorable mention in the Eileen Basker Prize competition recognizing works making significant contributions to scholarship on gender and health. Her second book, a collaborative ethnography with Heather Hlavka, Bodies in Evidence: Race, Gender, Science and Sexual Assault Adjudication will be published in November 2021. The Violence of Care examines emergency-room-based sexual assault intervention in Baltimore, Maryland, showing how therapeutic projects and investigative goals are conflated and complicated in forensic nursing examinations. Bodies in Evidence follows the evidence collected during forensic examinations to stages of adjudication, this time in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin felony court. In the courts, it becomes clear that while questions of justice are often left unresolved, the science of the courts contributes to collective investments in and material production of gender, sexuality, and racial hierarchy. She has also written articles that were published in journals such as Medical Anthropology, Law and Society Review, and Gender and Society.

With Dána-Ain Davis, Mulla is the founding co-editor of Feminist Anthropology, the official journal of the Association of Feminist Anthropology, and one of the academic editors of the Cornell University Press series Police/Worlds: Studies in Policing, Crime, and Governance. With Kevin Karpiak, she also edited the Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, and she serves on the editorial board for Fordham University Press’s Thinking from Elsewhere series. She is currently working on two projects, first studying the role of civilian oversight of policing, following the intertwining and frictions between state-sanctioned forms of civilian oversight and community-driven interventions based in abolitionist social movements. She is also writing and thinking about punishment, surveillance, and disciplining in sex offender sentencing hearings. In particular, she considers the ways in which sentencing hearings stratify the forms of social life, sexuality, and care valued by the state, especially those ways that pathologize and dismiss what the court perceives as Black forms of kinship, community, and sociality.


Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Violence | Ethnography | Racialization, Law and the Carceral State | Feminist Science Studies | Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality | Race, Gender and Medicine | Policing | Subjectivity