Ellen B. Rubinstein, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Office: 428C4 Minard Hall
Telephone: 701.231.7637
Email: ellen.rubinstein@ndsu.edu

Selected Publications

2020     Rubinstein EB and RV Sakakibara. Diagnosing Hikikomori: Social Withdrawal in Contemporary Japan. Medicine Anthropology Theory 7(2):58-81. doi: 10.17157/mat.7.2.684. 

 2019     Fetters MD and EB Rubinstein. The 3Cs of Content, Context and Concepts: A Practical Approach to Recording Unstructured Field Observations. TheAnnals of Family Medicine 17(6):554-560. doi: 10.1370/afm.2453.

 2018     Rubinstein EB. Extraordinary Care for Extraordinary Conditions: Constructing Parental Care for Serious Mental Illness in Japan. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 42(4):755-777. doi: 10.1007/s11013-018-9595-6.

  • Ph.D., Sociocultural Anthropology, Yale University
  • M.A., East Asian Studies, Yale University
  • B.A., English/East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Dr. Ellen B. Rubinstein is a cultural and medical anthropologist with ethnographic research experience in Japan and the U.S. Her research interests include mental health, psychiatry, diagnosis, disability, aging, and family, all of which contribute to her efforts to understand the complex interactions between (bio)medicine, health, and illness. Her research focuses particularly on care, investigating how families, patients, and practitioners construct mutually constitutive caring relations despite structural constraints and different lived experiences. Her core interests can be summarized in a few key questions: How are caring relations reconfigured in the wake of a diagnosed disease or disability? How do non-clinical contexts become generative spaces of new knowledge and practices of care? Finally, what practices constitute “good” care—and by whose standards?

Dr. Rubinstein has worked in both academic and applied anthropology contexts. Collaborating on interdisciplinary teams and with medical professionals has afforded her opportunities to experiment with different research philosophies and methodologies, as well as to do the work of translating anthropology to stakeholders outside of the discipline. She aims to prepare anthropology students to explain their skills to a wide audience, both to ensure that anthropological knowledge contributes to broader social discussions and to enhance students’ ability to effect positive change in the world.

Research and Teaching Specializations
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Psychological Anthropology
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Ethnographic Research Methods
Top of page