Dr. Karin Friederic

Assistant ProfessorDr. Karin Friederic Cultural Anthropologist - Wake Forest University
Cultural/Applied Anthropology
Office: 120 Piccolo Building
Phone: 336.758.5976
Email: friedeku@wfu.edu

Karin Friederic (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in global health, human rights, development, gender, sexuality, and violence. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the effects of human rights discourses and practices on women and men’s responses to intimate partner violence in rural Ecuador over the last twenty years.

Since the year 2000, Karin has worked with Ecuadorian communities in their efforts to obtain quality health care.  In 2003, she co-founded a nonprofit organization, The Minga Foundation, which is dedicated to improving global health through community based development. Current projects include a sexual education program for youth in Malawi, community organizing around clean water and açai production in northern Brazil, and agricultural training for HIV positive women in Uganda.

Her research has been published in diverse venues, including Global Public HealthPracticing AnthropologyLatin American Perspectivesand Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. Karin’s research and engagement has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, PEO Scholars, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Feminist Review Trust. Karin was also awarded the 2015-2016 Campbell Fellowship for Transformative Research on Women in the Developing World by the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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.

Curriculum Vitae

Research and Scholarly Activities

Research Interests: global health, development, charity and NGOs; human rights; transnational feminisms; gender, violence, and sexuality; women’s health and reproductive health; disability; health disparities; applied, engaged, and activist anthropology.

Geographic Areas of Interest: Latin America & the Caribbean, specifically Ecuador; United States.


To access some of Dr. Friederic’s articles, visit: http://wfu.academia.edu/KarinFriederic or click on the embedded links below.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

2018     Friederic, Karin and Brian Burke. La Revolución Ciudadana and Social Medicine: Undermining Community in the State Provision of Health Care in Ecuador. Special Issue: “Social Inequities and Contemporary Struggles for Collective Health in Latin America.” Global Public Health. 2018, Vol. 14 (6-7): 884-898, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2018.1481219

2014     Friederic, Karin. The “SONY Nightclub”: Rural Brothels, Gender Violence, and Development in Coastal Ecuador. Special Issue: Tracing Sexualities and Intimacies in Out-of-the-Way Places. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 79 (5):650-676. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2013.817460

2014     McCullough, Megan, Jan Brunson, and Karin Friederic. Editorial Introduction for Special Issue: Intimacies and Sexualities in Out-of-the-Way Places. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 79 (5):577-584. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2013.813057

2014     Friederic, Karin. Violence against Women and the Contradictions of Rights-in-Practice in Rural Ecuador. Special Issue: Violence against Women in Latin America. Latin American Perspectives 41 (1):19-38 DOI: 10.1177/0094582×13492140

2011      Friederic, Karin. The Challenges of Advocacy in Anthropological Research on Intimate Partner Violence.  Special Issue: Anthropological Encounters with Intimate Partner Violence: Reflections on our Roles in Advocating for a Safer World. Practicing Anthropology 33 (3):27-31. DOI: 10.17730/praa.33.3.0k852l348l311043

2010     Friederic, Karin. Barriers or Boundaries? The Politics of Conducting Research on Gender-Based Violence in Rural Ecuador. Arizona Anthropologist. 20: 81-88.

2008    Friederic, Karin. Frontiers of Violence: Women’s Rights, Intrafamily Violence, and the State in Ecuador. Intersections: Women’s and Gender Studies in Review across Disciplines 6: 58-75.

Editor or Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

2020     Friederic, Karin and Brian J. Burke. La Revolución Ciudadana and Social Medicine: Undermining Community in the State Provision of Health Care in Ecuador. In: Social Inequities and Contemporary Struggles for Collective Health in Latin America. Eds. Emily E Vasquez, Amaya G. Perez-Brumer, Richard Parker. London: Routledge. ISBN: 9780367498726. Reprinted from Special Issue of Global Public Health (original date: 2018). (Peer-reviewed)

2015     Friederic, Karin. Gender Violence, Social Change, and Applied Anthropology in Coastal Ecuador. In: Applying Anthropology to Gender-Based Violence: Global Responses, Local Practices.  Eds. Jennifer R. Wies and Hillary H. Haldane. Pp. 167-182. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. (Editor-reviewed)

Select News Articles, Commentary, and Technical Reports

2016       Friederic, Karin and Adriana Córdova (WFU student). Gender-Based Violence TIG: Violence, Sexuality, and Remaking Gender in Coastal Ecuador. Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter, Volume 26, Number 4.

2012       Friederic, Karin. Report: Evaluation of SaludCom Communications Project in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. The Minga Foundation-NOKIA.

2010       Friederic, Karin. How to Help Haiti. The Huffington Post. January 18, 2010. Link

2009      Friederic, Karin. Gender-Based Violence TIG: Local-Global Dimensions of Intimate Partner Violence and Human Rights In Northwest Ecuador. Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter, Volume 20, Number 1. February 2009.

Manuscripts in Preparation


The Prism of Human Rights: Gender, Violence, and Development in Rural Ecuador.

Journal Article

Saving Stray Dogs, Adventure Racing, and the Inca Canoe that Wasn’t: the Global Politics of Aid and Spectacle in the Ecuadorian Jungle. [In Preparation.]

Reinventing ‘Development’ to Build Community Power in a Quilombo Community in Pará, Brazil, Co-authors: Karin Friederic, John-Ben Soileau, and Brian J. Burke. Target: Development in Practice. [In Preparation.]


2017    “Women’s Rights, Gender Violence and Body Politics in Coastal Ecuador.” Lucile B. Price Endowed Lecture, Luther College, Iowa, October 2.

2016     “The Violence of Human Rights: Women’s Organizing and Gender Violence in Coastal Ecuador”. University of Texas at San Antonio, Public Lecture, Women’s History Month, Mar 4.

2015     “Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Applied Anthropology in Coastal Ecuador.” New Mexico Highlands University, Public Lecture, October 13.

2015     “¡El Machismo es Violencia!” Sex, Human Rights, and Masculinity on the Ecuadorian Coast. School for Advanced Research Fall Colloquium Series, Santa Fe, NM. Sept. 2015

2015     “The Violence of Human Rights: Women’s Organizing and Gender Violence in Coastal Ecuador,” Public Lecture/Anthropology Department Speaker Series, University of North Carolina Wilmington, April 23.

2015     “The Violence of Human Rights: Women’s Organizing and Gender Violence in Coastal Ecuador,” The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Colloquium Series, Wake Forest University (April 19)

2014     “La Violencia Adentro: Gender Violence, Human Rights and Governance in Coastal Ecuador,” Department of Anthropology & the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the University of Texas at Austin (February 25)

2014      “The F Word: Feminism,” a panel of students and professors discussing different meanings and implications of feminism. Wake Forest University (November 13)

See CV for full list of Presentations

Teaching and Student Engagement

Regularly-Taught Courses:

  • ANT 114 – Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (offered each semester)
  • ANT 360 – Anthropology of Global Health (approx. every 2 years)
  • ANT 385 – Global Justice and Human Rights in Latin America (approx. every 2 years)
  • FYS 100 – Save the World in One Click: Human Rights, Humanitarianism in the Facebook Era

Other Courses:

  • ANT385 – Special Topics: Gender, Health, and Development
  • Women’s Health in Global Perspective
  • Violence, Development and Social Justice


  • 2015-2019 Faculty Advisor, Anthropology Club
  • 2013-20 Steering Committee Member, WFU Latin American and Latino/a Studies
  • 2013-20 Member, Phi Beta Kappa, Wake Forest University
  • 2013-20 Undergraduate Lower Division Adviser, Wake Forest University (alternate years)
  • 2013 Fellow, Center for Community Solutions, Wake Forest University


Undergraduate Honors Theses

  • Sydney Comstock(2020, Anthropology), Medicalization and Midwifery: Birthing in the United States
  • Adriana Córdova(2017, Anthropology), Discourses of Gender, Power and Sexuality in Rural Coastal Ecuador
  • Bennett Heine(2016, Anthropology), ‘Aguantamos’: Structure, Agency, and Substandard Housing Among North Carolina Migrant Farmworkers”
  • Ansley Fennell (2016, Anthropology), Maya and Aakash: Imagining Agency, Inter-Caste Marriage and Social Change in Nepal
  • Anna Grace Tribble (2015, Anthropology), Female Community Health Workers, Health Education, and Tuberculosis in Nepal
  • Shoshanna Goldin (2015, Global Health), Infertility and Faith: An Examination of Jewish and Muslim Women’s Perspectives of IVF Policy in Israel
  • Lydia L. Sandy (2014, Anthropology), It’s More Than a Decision: The Roles of Uncertainty, Medical Pluralism, and Family Dynamics in the Decision-Making Processes of Young, Dalit Mothers in a Small Village in Western Nepal
  • David Inczauski (2014, Religion), The Refinement of Liberation Theology: An Analysis of the Dialogue between the Latin Americans and the Vatican

 Summer Research Fellows & Internships

  • Alexander Marshall, 2019, Summer Scholars Program, “Wine Over Time: The Changing Relationship Between Wine Production and Cultural Identity in Nemea, Greece”
  • Dami Fakunle, 2017, Richter Fellow, Human Rights, Social Needs, and Government Protection of Children in Mandeville, Jamaica
  • Adriana Cordova, 2016, ACC-IAC Fellow, Gender, Power and Sexuality in Rural Coastal Ecuador
  • Adriana Cordova, 2015, Bagel Fund Recipient, Health Education among Youth in Rural Ecuador
  • Ty Kraniak, 2014, Richter Fellow, Health Communication and Community-Based Healthcare
  • Araceli Morales, 2014, Richter Fellow, Community-Based Conservation in Mexico
  • Ty Kraniak, 2013, “Hydrating Humanity: Providing Clean Water in Rural Kenya” (Course Credit)
  • David Inczauskis, 2013, Richter Fellowship, Helping Honduras Kids: An NGO’s Perspective on Poverty and Orphaned Children”

Graduate Theses and Dissertations

  • Leah Emery(2019, MA, Psychology), The Course of Remission in Borderline Personality Disorder: The Relationship between Symptoms, Age and Functioning over Time

Mentored Student Publications (supervised/provided substantive feedback on student research and contribution) 

  • Fakunle, Dami (*2020, Sociology).The Key to Translation: An Examination of Children’s Human Rights Under Government Care and Protection in Mandeville and Santa Cruz, Jamaica. Under Review, Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography, Summer 2020. Faculty Sponsor: Karin Friederic
  • Heine, Bennett (*2016, Anthropology), Sara A. Quandt, and Thomas A. Arcury. ““Aguantamos”: Limits to Latino Migrant Farmworker Agency in North Carolina Labor Camps.” Human Organization76, no. 3 (2017): 240-250.


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