Dr. William Robertson

Assistant Professor

317 McCord Hall
Office Hours
Dr. William Robertson

About Dr. Robertson

Broadly, I am interested in the connections between biomedical practice and cultural norms concerning bodies, genders, and sexualities. My research sits at the intersections of critical medical anthropology, queer theory, and science & technology studies. 

At both the master's and doctoral level, my research has focused on issues concerning queer and trans people in medical settings. My dissertation project, based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork at an anal cancer prevention clinic in Chicago, developed a queer theory of care that challenges heteronormative logics underlying both medical care and anthropological scholarship on care. My work puts on Mary Douglas's classic anthropological theories of dirt/pollution and taboo in conversation with more recent work from queer and trans theory, especially concerning issues of embodiment, heteronormativity, and humor. My earlier Master's Thesis work examined the experiences of queer medical students as they were socialized into medical professionalism and developed a heteronormative medical gaze.

I am currently developing two projects, both building on my dissertation work. One will be a multi-sited ethnographic project involving follow-up work at the clinic where I conducted my dissertation fieldwork and will branch out to include additional clinics across the US that are performing anal cancer prevention procedures. The other project will be an applied medical anthropology project pushing my queer theory of care into new domains, especially concerning aging and "the life course."