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Sameena MullaInterim Director of Undergraduate Studies - WGSSAssociate Professor - WGSS

Sameena Mulla is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. She uses anthropological approaches to examine the intersections of law and health-care 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. Her first book, The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses and Sexual Assault Examination (New York University Press, 2014), is a study of emergency-room-based sexual assault intervention in Baltimore, Maryland, showing how therapeutic projects and investigative goals are conflated and complicated in forensic nursing examinations. Her second book, a collaborative ethnography with Heather Hlavka, Bodies in Evidence: Race, Gender, Science and Sexual Assault Adjudication (New York University Press, 2021) follows the evidence collected during forensic examinations to stages of adjudication, this time in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin felony court. The book argues that while questions of justice are often left unresolved in the courts, 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. Ethnographic and feminist research methodology, and collaborative research in particular, are other areas of her scholarly and pedagogical interest.

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. Her current fieldwork on civilian oversight of policing and its varying approaches to racialized police brutality is supported by a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation, and is a collaboration with Ramona Pérez and Kevin Karpiak including ethnographic research across three different U.S. counties. In addition to her work on 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 deploy sensory regimes that 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