Dr. Anna Jaysane-Darr

Associate Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work

Anna Jaysane-Darr
(413) 662-5112
Murdock Hall Rm 325


Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2013

M.A., School of Oriental &

   African Studies, 2003

B.A., New York University

Courses Taught

ANTH 240: Peoples of the World

ANTH 305: Anthropology of Refugees and Displacement

ANTH 310: Global Health

ANTH 315: Community Health

ANTH 323: Culture and Conflict in Africa

ANTH 345: Culture, Health, and Illness

ANTH 365: Gender Roles and Culture

ANTH 495: Culture and the Brain



About Me

As an educator, I am particularly interested in cultural awareness, engaged education, and global citizenship. Thus, I encourage modes of learning that connect the classroom with our broader society, and invite students to lead the educational process. I regard the classroom as a space for generating and workshopping ideas and projects, and hope to galvanize students to use their education to make the world a better place.

In my Community Health course, students design and implement community-based learning projects on topics ranging from opioid addiction to housing insecurity to elder care. In my 2018 Global Health class, we partnered with courses in Biology and Environmental Studies to develop a collaborative community-based learning initiative on Food Insecurity and Sustainability in the North Berkshires, with support from Campus Compact’s Campuses for Environmental Stewardship.

I also lead a travel course to Cape Town, South Africa, where students examine culture, political activism, social inequality, and entrepreneurship in this complex and beautiful city.

Research/Creative Interests

I am a cultural and medical anthropologist specializing in reproduction, medicalization, neurodiversity, and refugee studies. My past research centered on the experience of refugee resettlement in the United States, refugee assistance organizations, and medical and familial management of reproduction. Newer projects are concerned with the lived experience of autism in the United States and South Africa, global public health interventions in behavioral health, and on autism spectrum disorder etiologies and treatment.

My current research, supported by a Spencer Foundation grant, focuses on the therapeutic labor of educators and therapists working in autism schools and programs in Cape Town, South Africa and evaluates the impact of structural inequalities on disabled communities in South Africa.


2020. "Enabling and Disabling Emotional Diversity: Negotiating Autism Spectrum Disorder in Therapeutic Encounters” for special issue on “Children and Youth as Emotional Suspects” (eds. Elsa Davidson and Rachael Stryker) in Children & Society.

2017. "Ethnic Refuge." Anthropology NewsSpecial Issue "Maintaining Refuge."

2016. "‘Birth Is a Miracle Only to God’: Reconfiguring Kinship through Reproductive Suffering in the South Sudanese Diaspora.” Social Dynamics42 (2): 321–34.

2013. "Nurturing Sudanese, Producing Americans: Refugee Parents and Personhood.” In Parenting in Global Perspective: Negotiating Ideologies of Kinship, Self, and Politics, edited by Charlotte Faircloth, Diane Hoffman, and Linda L. Layne, 101–15. London: R

2010. Galaxies of Meaning: Semiotics in Media Theory.” Semiotica 182: 229–46.


“Sensorial Labor in the Post-Colonial Autism Classroom” in panel Decolonizing Disability: Infrastructure, Knowledge, and Activism. American Anthropological Association, 2019.

“Enabling and Disabling Emotional Diversity: Negotiating Autism Spectrum Disorder in Therapeutic Encounters,” American Anthropological Association, 2018

“The matrix of milk and kisra: making people and survival in resettlement” in panel “Matters of Resettlement”. American Anthropological Association, 2017.

“Emotional Regimes: Maternalism, Power, and Affect in a Refugee-Serving Nonprofit Organization," American Anthropological Association, 2015

“Producing Reproductive Bodies: Intersectionality and Biopolitics in a South Sudanese (Former) Refugee Community," American Anthropological Association, 2014