Ellen Gruenbaum studied Anthropology at Stanford University (A.B.) and the University of Connecticut (M.A. 1974 and Ph.D. 1982). She joined Purdue in 2008. She previously served as Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the College of Social Sciences at California State University, Fresno. She has also held teaching positions at the California State University, San Bernardino, University of Wisconsin College in Manitowoc, and the University of Khartoum, Sudan.
Ellen Gruenbaum is a culturally-oriented medical anthropologist who has done ethnographic research with a special focus on women’s health issues, gender, religious practices, and development in Africa and the Middle East. She has conducted research in Sudan and Sierra Leone on the practice of female genital cutting and the social movements against “harmful traditional practices.” She has served as a research consultant to UNICEF and CARE on traditional health practices.
Cultural anthropology courses on cultural anthropology, including religion, gender, health, and post-colonial situations. Africa and the Middle East.
Her interest in the controversies among cultural self-determination, international human rights, and women’s rights led to her past service on the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association and the Association for Feminist Anthropology. She currently serves as the secretary of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Gruenbaum is the author of The Female Circumcision Controversy: An Anthropological Perspective (University of Pennsylvania Press) and numerous articles and book chapters. She serves on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.