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Julia Kowalski

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Office: Minard 482C6
Telephone: 701.231.6434


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2014
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 2009
  • B.A., University of Chicago, 2005


Dr. Kowalski is a cultural anthropologist who studies gender, kinship, and transnational rights discourse in India and in the United States. She uses methods and theories from cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology in her work. Her current research brings together anthropological perspectives on language, law and personhood in order to examine how arguments about human rights are shaped by interactive practices in north India. This research is based on nearly a decade of fieldwork in India, much of which has focused on family counseling centers run by women’s rights organizations. By focusing on how family counselors and women’s rights activists reference rights and kinship as they address issues of ranging from gendered violence to economic instability, Dr. Kowalski’s research examines how global human rights concepts change as they are adapted to new social and cultural settings. This research has been funded by Fulbright-Hays, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the American Institute for Indian Studies.

Dr. Kowalski’s future research will examine expert debates about coercion and consent. One project, based in India, examines the history of interactive practices like family counseling in the context of Indian development organizations, which have struggled with the challenge of democratizing development. Another project will be based in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and will examine how new legal standards addressing campus sexual assault are changing students’ experiences of college. This project will offer students opportunities to conduct fieldwork and analyze ethnographic data.

At NDSU, Dr. Kowalski teaches courses on medical anthropology, global health, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology. She also teaches courses on ethnographic methods and theory. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Kowalski writes and co-edits features for the website Somatosphere and for the Association for Feminist Anthropology.



Forthcoming. Bureaucratizing Sensitivity: Gender Sensitization, Anti-Violence Legislation, and Narrative Inequality in Jaipur, India. Accepted at Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

2016. Ordering Dependence: Care, Disorder, and Kinship Ideology in Antiviolence Counseling in North India. American Ethnologist 43 (1): 63-75.

2015. Rethinking Translation in Feminist NGOs: Rights and Empowerment across Borders. With Susan Gal and Erin Moore. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, and Society 22(4): 1-26.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Sociology and Anthropology Department: +1 (701) 231-8657
Fax: +1 (701) 231-5118
Campus Address: Minard Hall 428, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address: Dept. 2350, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Site manager: Kate Ulmer

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 03, 2017 2:49:45 PM
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