Stacy Pigg

Professor of Anthropology
Sociology & Anthropology


Dr. Stacy Leigh Pigg, Professor of Anthropolgy and Associate Member of the School for International Studies, received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. Dr. Pigg's research explores the global interconnections and uneven translations produced through medicine, science, and development. Her research speaks to ethical questions of social justice and suffering by examining the cultural and political relationships set in motion by humanitarian expertise and post-colonial science. She has previously carried out in-depth research in Nepal on the creation of public knowledge about AIDS, on the cultural impact of national ideologies of modernization, on how  “development” schemes look and feel to the people who are their targets, and on the relation between western medicine and traditional healing – projects  that all emerged from her long-standing interest in the negotiation of differing frameworks of meaning as this occurs under conditions of social inequality.  Dr. Pigg served as Editor of the journal Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness from 2000-2006.

Dr. Pigg’s current project examines globally stratified experiences of biomedical technology and knowledge through the study of Depo-Provera, an injectable hormonal contraceptive that has been in use – and subject to controversy over its safety and suitability – for over fifty years. The research tracks the travels and the localization of Depo-Provera, asking how the meanings and uses of a technology carry over or change from one context to another, and how knowledge about a drug is formulated, expressed, and disseminated within and among contexts and among differently invested actors.

She is also experimenting with the ethnographic form itself by exploring the potentialities of the comics (graphic narrative) medium as both a means to convey the stories ethnographers encounter in their research and as a theoretically-informed provocation to see contemporary social problems “otherwise.”

Dr. Pigg teaches anthropological ways of thinking to undergraduates in introductory and upper-division courses as well as in her mentoring of graduate students. She also offers courses in the anthropology of medicine and science, including courses on social and ethical dimensions of biomedical technology and on global/international health.


PhD, Cornell University
MA (Cultural Anthropology), Cornell University
BA Hons. (Anthropology, Portuguese, Ibero-American Studies) University of Wisconsin, Madison

Areas of Interest

Anthropology of science and medicine; post-colonial science studies; ethnography as method, representation, and genre; anthropology of the body, reproduction, and sexuality; social spaces of global health; critical studies of international development and humanitarianism.

Select Publications


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2013). On Sitting and Doing: Ethnography as Action in Global Health. Social Science and Medicine 99: 127 -134 (winner of the Virchow Prize, 2014).
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2012). Sexuality. In A Companion to Moral Anthropology. D. Fassin, ed., pp. 320-338. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2008).  Medical Sciences and Technology in Socio-cultural Context. In International Encyclopedia of Public Health  First Edition.  H.K. Heggenhougen and S. Quah (eds), Volume 4, pp 321-329. San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh and Vincanne Adams, (2005). Introduction: The Moral Object of Sex. In Sex in Development: Science, Sexuality, and Morality in Global Perspective V. Adams and S. L. Pigg, eds., pp 1-38. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2005). Globalizing the Facts of Life. In Sex in Development: Science, Sexuality, and Morality in Global Perspective. V. Adams and S. L. Pigg, eds., pp 39-65. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2002). Too Bold, Too Hot: Crossing ‘Culture’ in AIDS Prevention in Nepal. In New Horizons in Medical Anthropology: Essays in Honour of Charles Leslie. M. Nichter and M. Lock, eds., pp. 58-80. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (2001).  Languages of Sex and AIDS in Nepal: Notes on the Social Production of Commensurability.  Theme Issue “Anthropology and/in/of Science” Cultural Anthropology 16(4): 481-541.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1997).  "Found in Most Traditional Societies": Traditional Medical Practitioners between Culture and Development.  In  International Development and the Social Sciences, Frederick Cooper and Randall Packard, eds, pp 259-290.  Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1997). Authority in Translation: Finding Knowing, Naming and Training "Traditional Birth Attendants" in Nepal.  In  Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Carolyn Sargent, eds., pp. 233-62. University of California Press.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1996). The Credible and the Credulous: The Questions of "Villagers' Beliefs" in Nepal.  Cultural Anthropology 11(2):160-201.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1995).  Acronyms and Effacement: Traditional Medical Practitioners (TMP) in International Health Development. Social Science and Medicine, 41(1):47-68.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1993). Unintended Consequences: The Ideological Impact of Development in Nepal. Special Issue on Nepal, Nanda Shrestha, guest editor. South Asia Bulletin 8(1-2):45-58.
  • Pigg, Stacy Leigh, (1992). Inventing Social Categories through Place: Social Representations and Development in Nepal.  Comparative Studies in Society and History 34(3): 491-513.

Awards & Funding

  • Winner of the 2014 Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Excellence in Supervision
  • Winner of the 2014 Rudolf Virchow Professional Award (Society for Medical Anthropology) for the 2013 article "On Sitting and Doing: Ethnography as Action in Global Health"
  • Honored in 2015 with the Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence
  • “Evidence and Technology Across Borders: The Case of Depo-Provera in Nepal and India, and Beyond”
    (2009-2011). Funded by: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Standard Research Grant.
  • “The Production of Public Knowledge about AIDS in Nepal”
    (1997). Funded by: Social Science Research Council/American Council of Learned Societies.

Currently Teaching