University of Notre Dame
Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute Hesburgh Center/Kellogg Institute

Vania Smith-OkaVania Smith-Oka

Associate Professor of Anthropology
(PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago)
649 Flanner 

Geographic focus: Mexico

Thematic interests: Globalization; reproductive health; women's health; ethnobotany; formal and informal health systems.

Current research: How marginal peoples around the world respond to the impact that globalization has on their health needs and local knowledge by looking at how the least powerful members of a community, i.e. women, are responding to this globalization.

Selected publications:

  • “The Disease Factor: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on the People of Tsavo” in Ecology, Economy, and Culture: Human Interactions in the Tsavo Region, Kenya, coauthor (Africa World Press, forthcoming)

  • Shaping the Motherhood of Indigenous Mexico (Vanderbilt University Press, 2013)

  • “Bodies of Risk: Constructing Motherhood in a Mexican Public Hospital,” Social Science and Medicine 75, 12 (2012)

  • “An Analysis of Two Indigenous Reproductive Health Illnesses in a Nahua Community in Veracruz, Mexico,” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 8, 33. (DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-8-33)

  • “Unintended Consequences: Exploring the Tensions between Development Programs and Indigenous Women in Mexico in the Context of Reproductive Health,” Social Science and Medicine 68 (2009)

  • "Plants Used for Reproductive Health by Nahua Women in Northern Veracruz, Mexico," Economic Botany 62, 4 (2008)

  • The History of the Incas, editor (University of Texas Press, 2007)




Ford Program

Varieties of Democracy

Latin American/North America Church Concerns

Notre Dame Award

Kellogg Faculty Fellows

Visiting Fellows Program

Faculty Research

Working Groups

Undergraduate Student Programs

Graduate Student Programs

International Development Studies Minor

Latin American Studies Minor

Institute Publications

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The Kellogg Institute promotes scholarship, learning, and linkages that address issues of critical importance to our world. At the center of our interdisciplinary community’s work are two key themes: democratization and human development. 

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