Sociology assistant professor Ana Villarreal was featured in the Watson Institute at...
BIO AND RESEARCH
Rebecca is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow whose scholarship addresses global intersections between health and health care, sex, gender, and the body. Focusing on the medical tourism industry in Thailand – which specializes in sex and gender reassignment surgeries for transgender women – her dissertation uses primary and secondary data and ethnographic methods to analyze how the global commodification of health care trickles down to impact local people, particularly Thai transgender women. Drawing on assemblage theory, her research unbundles medical tourism in Thailand to explain how and why the industry has emerged in particularly gendered ways – and how it might exacerbate social inequalities for local people. Rebecca’s sociological imagination is strengthened by an attention to political and economic structural trends combined with a grounded approach to understanding individual’s life trajectories.
Her other research focuses on the experiences of transgender men with health care, health, and fitness, analyzing how fitness practices such as weightlifting and the use of online forums allow some transgender men to embody their ideals of maleness and masculinity. She is also involved in a project with Dr. Joseph Harris that analyzes American medical sociology’s engagement with issues of global health.
Rebecca graduated cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a major in Sociology and minor in Gender Studies. As an undergraduate, she conducted two months of pilot fieldwork in Bangkok, Thailand and wrote her thesis on Thai transgender women’s access to health care and employment within the context of medical tourism.
- Farber, Rebecca. “‘Transing’ fitness and remapping transgender male masculinity in online message boards.” Journal of Gender Studies. Available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09589236.2016.1250618?journalCode=cjgs20.