Associate Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Program; Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies; Center for the Study of Asia
Areas of Expertise
Psychological, medical, and linguistic anthropology; ethics, morality and subjectivity; narrative and language socialization; illness and recovery; gender, family and kinship; Vietnam and Southeast Asia; food and eating disorders; kibbutz life in Israel/Palestine
Dr. Merav Shohet is a cultural anthropologist whose specializations in psychological, medical, and linguistic anthropology lead to ethnographic research on affect, morality, and health. In Vietnam, North America, and, most recently, Israel/Palestine, her studies of care and gendered subjectivities illuminate how communicative practices–and the socio-historical and political-economic transformations of which they are a part–mediate individuals’ experiences of moral personhood and lived possibilities in contexts of care-giving, suffering and recovery.
Dr. Shohet’s first book, Silence and Sacrifice: Family Stories of Care and the Limits of Love in Vietnam, draws on person-centered and language socialization research among multi-generational families to theorize how “sacrifice” works as a complex meta-value guiding everyday moral practice. Here, affirmations of love and silence-filled stories of intimacy and care entrench hierarchies and asymmetrical reciprocity, working to minimize overt conflict and provide a sense of continuity in Vietnam’s rapidly urbanizing late-socialist context.
Extending her interests in narrative, ethics, and inequalities, Dr. Shohet most recently began work on aging and end of life care in changing kibbutz communities, and on the pandemic’s harmful, syndemic effects on racialized end-stage kidney disease patients in Greater Boston, where she documents chronic terminal patients’ struggles to flourish. In future, she also hopes to return to her earlier eating disorders research, to investigate lifespan illness and recovery processes, and how discourses of food, economic development, and cross-cultural psychiatry insidiously figure in marginalized people’s lives.
- Shohet, Merav. 2021. Silence and Sacrifice: Family Stories of Care and the Limits of Love in Vietnam. Oakland: University of California Press.
- Shohet, Merav. 2018. “Two Deaths and a Funeral: Ritual Inscriptions’ Affordances for Mourning and Moral Personhood in Vietnam.” American Ethnologist 45 (1): 60-73.
- Shohet, Merav. 2018. “Beyond the Clinic? Eluding a Medical Diagnosis of Anorexia through Narrative.” Transcultural Psychiatry 55(4): 495-515.
- CAS AN 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
- CAS AN 210 Medical Anthropology
- CAS AN 302/WGS330 Gender and New Medical Technologies
- CAS AN 372/772 Psychological Anthropology
- CAS AN 461 Ethnography and Anthropological Theory I
- CAS AN 557 Anthropology of Mental Health
- CAS AN 590 Theory, Methods, and Techniques of Fieldwork