K. Eliza Williamson

K. Eliza Williamson

Lecturer in Latin American Studies

contact info:

office hours:

  • Monday: 2:00PM - 4:00PM (virtual). Appointments strongly encouraged

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    CB 1077
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

K. Eliza Williamson is a cultural anthropologist studying reproduction, disability, and healthcare in Northeast Brazil. Her first book project is an ethnography of a maternal and infant health program that seeks to “humanize” childbirth in Brazil’s universal public health system, and her current research tracks the embodied social impacts of the 2015-16 Zika virus epidemic on Afro-Brazilian families raising children diagnosed with congenital Zika syndrome in Salvador da Bahia.

In the LAS Program, Eliza teaches:

  • Cultures of Health in Latin America
  • The Body in Brazil: Race, Representation, Ontologies
  • Survey of Brazilian Cultures: Race, Nation and Society
  • Hello, Hello Brazil! Popular Culture, Media and the Making of a Nation
  • Humans and Others in Latin America: Natures, Cultures, Environments
  • Gender, Sexuality and Power in Brazil

In RLL, Eliza teaches:

  • Portuguese for Romance Speakers II
  • Portuguese Reading and Conversation I

In addition, Eliza organizes the Portuguese Bate-Papo conversation group at Wash U.

Recent Publications:

  • Williamson, K. Eliza. 2021. “The Iatrogenesis of Obstetric Racism in Brazil: Beyond the Body, beyond the Clinic.” Anthropology & Medicine 28(2): 172-87. https://doi.org/10.1080/13648470.2021.1932416.
  • Williamson, K. Eliza. 2021. “Interventive Care: Uncertainty, Distributed Agency, and Cesarean Section in a Zika Virus Epidemic.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 35(2): 266-84. https://doi.org/10.1111/maq.12620.
  • Williamson, K. Eliza, and Etsuko Matsuoka. 2019. “Comparing Childbirth in Brazil and Japan: Social Hierarchies, Cultural Values, and the Meaning of Place.” In Birth in Eight Cultures (edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Melissa Cheney), pp. 89-128. Waveland Press.
  • Williamson, K. Eliza. 2018. “Care in the Time of Zika: Notes on the ‘Afterlife’ of the Epidemic in Salvador (Bahia), Brazil.” Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação 22(66): 685-96. https://doi.org/10.1590/1807-57622017.0856.

Her writing can also be found in SomatosphereEnvironmental History Now, and Human Ties.

Eliza’s research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright IIE, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Association for Feminist Anthropology, and the Brazilian Studies Association, among others. She is a faculty affiliate in the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Equity at WashU and a member of the Disability and Accessibility Committee of the Brazilian Anthropological Association (CODEA-ABA).