Bilinda Straight

Bilinda Straight
Professor of Anthropology
(269) 387-3979
(269) 387-2507
1061 Moore Hall, Mail Stop 5494
Mailing address: 
Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5494 USA
  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1997
  • Graduate Certificate, Women’s Studies (in tandem with Ph.D.), University of Michigan, 1997
  • M.F.A., Creative Writing, Western Michigan University, 2015
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1990
  • B.A., English and Women’s Studies, Lake Erie College, 1987
Teaching interests: 
  • Body modification, sex and gender norms
  • Inequality & differencing, persisting colonialisms
  • Theoretical and philosophical approaches to human experience
  • Frankenstein, technology, ethics
Research interests: 
  • The nature of emotion and human experience
  • Warfare, masculinity, emotion, morality
  • Critical intersection of evolutionary and cultural paradigms

Dr. Bilinda Straight is a cultural and biological anthropologist and professor in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at Western Michigan University. Her work focuses on the nature of emotion and human experience, particularly through the impact of cultural and moral norms on pastoralists in the midst of northern Kenya’s extreme environment and chronic low-intensity warfare.

Beginning in 2008, in a series of National Science Foundation funded projects, her work has examined human experience through an embodied approach to health, and most recently, at the intersection between human and world suggested by epigenetics through an ethnographically “thick” approach. She has been doing field work with Samburu pastoralists in northern Kenya since 1992. Straight has received a Fulbright and four National Science Foundation Awards. Additional information and a list of publications can be found on her personal website.