Kara Miller

Kara Miller
Assistant Professor Ph.D.  University of California – Riverside 
Email: Kara.Miller@csulb.edu
Phone: (562) 985-5186
Office: FO3-310

Dr. Kara Miller is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Applied Anthropology, specializing in medical anthropology, body politics, and eco-social well-being. Dr. Miller’s work explores how bodily ways of knowing can enliven structures that affect and manage people’s lives, through investigations of health equity, utilizing holistic anthropological approaches in fieldwork and ethnography. Her work is informed by health humanities, feminist epistemologies, and critical social theory and is centered in discourses of embodiment, which look to the visceral, felt aspects of experience in order to understand human complexities, contexts, and conditions. Dr. Miller’s work seeks to renovate healing systems and institutions with care and coherence generated through nuanced cultural understandings, and her methods are based in practices of empowerment.

Previous research in East Africa examines the embodied politics of health policies regulating women’s sexual and reproductive health. Other projects include: humanizing mental health systems in New Orleans; collaborative community work on access to health care for migrant communities in California; and facilitating a National Institutes of Health study in Uganda on integrative medicine. Dr. Miller’s current and emergent work looks at embodied ecologies, particularly with regard to toxic industrial practices and avenues for health sovereignty. Positing that the body is a vehicle for interacting with lifeworlds, as well as a lived site of accumulation and information, new research aims to understand local environmental entanglements and perceptions, with implications for community wellness and conservation.

 Education History:

PhD, Anthropology – University of California, Riverside, 2017.

MA, Anthropology – Louisiana State University, 2010.

BA, Anthropology & Applied Visual Arts – North Carolina State University, 2006.

 Research and Teaching Focus:

Political ecology, healers and healing, health equity, sustainable futures, multimodal ethnography, medical ideologies, art-based interventions.

Selected Works:

– Miller, Kara. (2024). “Cultural Attunements and Ecological Wellbeing: Embodied Conditions for Mental Health Interventions” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 21, no. 3: 287. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21030287

– Miller, Kara. (2022). “Untangling Toxicity in Birth Practices: Placenta Politics in the United States and Uganda,” IN Reproductive Governance and Bodily Materiality: Flesh, Technologies, and Knowledge. Corinna Sabrina Guerzoni and Claudia Mattalucci, eds. Pgs 111-126. Emerald Publishing: Bingley.                                                              https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/9781800714380

– Miller, Kara. (2020). “Embodied/ Virtual Environments.” Oxford Bibliographies in ANTHROPOLOGY. John Jackson, EIC. New York: Oxford University Press, July 29, 2020. https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199766567/obo-9780199766567-0251.xml?rskey=8lRedL&result=62.

– Le, Annie, Kara Miller, and Juliet McMullin. (2017). “From Particularities to Context: Refining Our Thinking on Illness Narratives, American Medical Association – Journal of Ethics. Volume 9(3), 304-311, March 2017. https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/particularities-context-refining-our-thinking-illness-narratives/2017-03.

– Miller, Kara and Deborah Mindry. (2016). “Africa and Public Health Interventions from Afar”, Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa http://www.cihablog.com/.

– Miller, Kara (2014). “Turing the Tables on Childbirth: A Conversation in Uganda (Notes from the Field)”; Council on the Anthropology of Reproduction. Vol 21(2), pp 7,8.

– Miller, Kara. (2013). “Medical Examinations: Art, Story, Theory: Examining narrative in medicine,” Second Opinion: Society for Medical Anthropology; Vol 1(3), pp 3.