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Dr. Karin Friederic is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University. Broadly, her research examines how transnational human rights and global health campaigns reconfigure gendered subjectivities, relationships, and ideas of citizenship in Latin America.

Karin Friederic’s book, The Prism of Human Rights: Seeking Justice amid Gender Violence in Rural Ecuador (Rutgers University Press, 2023) documents the effects of human rights on local responses to intimate partner violence on Ecuador’s coast over the last twenty years. She draws on two decades of research and activism to explore two facets of human rights—one, their contribution to the unfinished journey to justice for victims of gender violence, and two, their role in a global cultural project in which “rights” are associated with modernity, development, and democratic states. Using a gendered political economy framework merged with close attention to local subjectivities, The Prism of Human Rights demonstrates that gender violence interventions based exclusively on rights awareness and education are not only inadequate, but also unwittingly insert “liberated” women into larger dynamics of gendered structural violence.

Karin Friederic’s research has been published in diverse venues and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Feminist Review Trust, among others. Karin was also awarded the 2015 Campbell Fellowship for Transformative Research on Women in the Developing World by the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Since coming to Wake Forest University, she has introduced a number of new courses, including Human Rights and Global Justice in Latin America, the Anthropology of Global Health, and Save the World in One Click!, a first year seminar on the ethics of charity and humanitarianism. She also regularly teaches the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course.

Since the year 2000, Karin has also worked with Ecuadorian communities in their efforts to obtain health care services and mobilize against gender violence. In 2003, she co-founded a nonprofit organization, The Minga Foundation, which is dedicated to improving global health through community-led development. Karin joined the Department of Anthropology at Wake Forest University after completing her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona and teaching at Colby College. She received her BA in Anthropology from The Colorado College.

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