Dr. Fouzieyha Towghi received her PhD in Medical Anthropology in 2007 from the joint program of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, where she earned an additional graduate accreditation from the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program. From 2008 to 2012 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Swiss Network for Mobility Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies, University of Neuchatel. She was awarded a Masters in Public Health in 1993 in international and women's health from University of Hawaii, which was followed by seven years of public health advocacy, research, organizing, and development work, translating health development policies into intervention programs in rural and urban Pakistan and the United States. Her scholarship engages biomedical, international/global health policy and development practices to explore the transnational and trans-historical traffic of bio-scientific ideas, technologies, and development and human rights experts and the effects of these processes on women's bodies and lifeworlds. Her research and writings reflect and emerge from her focus on issues of social justice and social inequality at the intersections of women's health, global/public health, science, technology, postcolonial, feminist, and critical race theories, critical development and subaltern studies, as well as the politics of racial/ethnic, gender, sexual, class [marked also by rural/urban spatial and symbolic divides], regional and religious differences.
She has taught courses and mentored undergraduate and graduate students since 2001 in four UC- Berkeley departments (anthropology, sociology, gender and women's studied, and ethnic studies), in the Social and Cultural Anthropology Dept., University of Zurich, and since 2011 at the California Institute of Integral Studies. In her teaching, she draws from her experiences outside of the academy to foster a grounded understanding between theory and practice, particularly as it relates to textual and visual representations of women's lives, racialized subjects, non-western cultures and social practices, and marginalized subjects in general.
Among her publications include a book chapter in "Unhealthy Health Policy: A Critical Anthropological Examination" and peer-reviewed articles, "Cutting In-operable Bodies: Particularizing rural sociality to normalize hysterectomies in Balochistan, Pakistan" in Medical Anthropology; and also forthcoming: "Normalizing Off-label Experiments and Pharmaceuticalizing Homebirths in Pakistan," "The Co-construction of 'Honour Killings' and 'Tribalism' in Human Rights Discourse," "The Biopolitics of Reproductive Technologies Beyond the Clinic: Localizing HPV-vaccines in India," and, with K. Vora, "Bodies, Markets and the Experimental n South Asia" in peer review journals Ethnos, Humanity, and Medical Anthropology. She has also co-authored with Shalini Randeria a chapter, "Pharmaceutical Mobilities and the Market for Women's Reproductive Health: Moving HPV-vaccines and Contraceptives through NGOs and the State in India" forthcoming in the edited volume "Critical Mobilities," published by Routledge.
Fouzieyha Towghi is currently involved in two major projects. Her book manuscript, "Scales of Marginality: Women, Medicines, and Midwives in Postcolonial Balochistan," is currently under revision. Based on her doctoral research in Balochistan, Pakistan the book examines the "rules of difference" shaping postcolonial development projects aiming to 'improve' and biomedicalize women's health; and the ethnicization of indigenous medicines and "tribal" life. The book addresses postcolonial biomedical globalization, delineating the continuities from colonial to postcolonial development policies and practices to reveal how colonialism and development have instrumentalized the state to advance biomedicine as the normative medicine, thus producing consequences for local therapeutic forms. She examines the seemingly disparate discursive spaces across geographic locations (e.g. international, national, state, local) to consider how categories such as "honour killings", "tribal" and "midwife" are refracted in these distinct sites in order to demonstrate the links between political economy and the interlocking discourses in human rights documents and transnational development practices about the so-called traditional midwives and backward tribes. The book delineates how the discursive co-formations of "honour killing" and "tribalism" in human rights documents and in Pakistani politics have reanimated colonial notions of the "tribal".
Her second project, "The transfigurations of the state-science nexus in the global movement of reproductive technologies: The case of HPV vaccines in India," examines the global mobility and circulation of research, therapeutics, and medical technologies for female reproductive cancers across institutional, national, and sub-national borders, and the impact of these processes on girls' and women's bodies and their lifeworlds. In 2009 and 2011 she initiated ethnographic research in several cities and rural areas in India focusing on the simultaneous emergence of WHO and national programs against cervical cancer, and the globalization of HPV vaccines, focusing on the shifting nexus between biomedicine(s), the state, and population health care. Preliminary findings from this study were presented at an international conference in 2010 in Switzerland and will be published in the book, "Critical Mobilities," and the journal of Medical Anthropology. This research extends Dr. Towghi's longstanding interest in identifying the social effects of international reproductive health policies in South Asia, particularly, the ramifications of the global circulations and translations of emergent and revised "truths" about women's health and social status, disease etiology and epidemiology, and effective health care.