Dr. Mimi Nichter


Mimi Nichter is a Professor in the School of Anthropology with joint appointments in the College of Public Health and the School of Consumer and Family Resources. Since the 1970s, she has been conducting longitudinal ethnographic research on local health cultures in rural South India (in coastal regions of Karnataka). Her research in Karnataka has focused on a range of topics including ethnophysiology, folk dietetics, ritual, and transnational yoga flows. For the past decade, she has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (Fogarty International Center) to work in India (Karnataka and Kerala) and Indonesia on the anthropology of tobacco use, the development of culturally appropriate tobacco cessation programs, and a smoke free homes movement. Dr. Nichter has served as a consultant for various organizations in South Asia including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Ford Foundation on a range of projects related to women’s health.
In the U.S., Dr. Nichter has conducted longitudinal ethnographic research on body image, dieting and smoking among adolescents and emerging adults as well as on smoking among low income pregnant women. She is the author of numerous journal articles and has written two books: Fat Talk: What Girls and their Parents Say about Dieting (Harvard University Press, 2000) and Anthropology and International Health: Asian Case Studies (Routledge Press, 2001, with Mark Nichter). She is presently completing a book entitled “Deadly Pleasures:The Lure of Smoking among Youth” (forthcoming, NYU Press) focusing on college students in the United States.
Two recent articles on her research in India are:
Nichter, Mimi. The social life of yoga: Exploring transnational flows in India. In B. Hauser (editor), Yoga Traveling: Bodily Practice in Transcultural Perspective. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2013.
Nichter, Mark and Nichter, Mimi. Revisiting the Concept of Karma: Lessons from a Dhanvantari Homa. Journal of Ritual Studies, 24(2): 37-55, 2010.