A 2016 International Dissertation Research Fellowship recipient, Heather Wurtz is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. Her dissertation research assumes an ethnographic approach along the Mexico-Guatemala border to examine how migrant women navigate their reproductive lives within complex institutional settings. The “Research Snapshots” series is an initiative aimed at highlighting important and innovative research by SSRC fellows who are currently conducting or who have recently returned from doing international research.
Heather Wurtz was the recipient of a 2016 SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship and a 2015 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship. She is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences/Anthropology at Columbia University and a Fellow in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She was previously a fellow in the NIH-funded Gender, Sexuality, and Health Training Program at Columbia University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Wurtz worked as Registered Nurse, gaining health care experience in Central America and southern India. She has conducted qualitative research on social and health inequalities in the United States, Peru, Ecuador, and along both of Mexico’s borders. Her dissertation research is provisionally entitled “Inhabiting Injurious Worlds: Reproductive Precarity and Female Migration in the Southern Mexico Borderlands”. It assumes an ethnographic approach along the Mexico-Guatemala border to examine how migrant women navigate their reproductive lives within complex institutional settings and the material and relational dynamics of their social worlds. She’s particularly interested in how normative gender regimes intersect with national migration policy and local responses to gender-based violence, and what this reveals about the politics of reproduction and moral economies of migrant care.