Jesse Bia

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Bailey 108

Jesse Bia has been a member of the faculty since 2022



Spring 2024 
Office Hours:
Wed. 12:30-2:30


Curriculum Vitae


  • PhD - University College London (UCL)
    MPhil - University of Oxford
    BA - University of Rochester

  • Dr. Bia is a cultural and medical anthropologist, and regional specialist in the field of Japanese studies. Dr. Bia’s principal research examines the lived experiences and narratives of geriatric patients with degenerative diseases in urban Japan, and the nurses, physicians, and family members who care for them. This work often focuses on the development and use of Regenerative Medicine – the application of native and induced stem cells to repair damaged organs, tissue, and cells – documenting and analyzing individual and societal perceptions thereof. Dr. Bia’s research highlights connections and disjunctures between these biomedical procedures, traditional medicine/treatments (kampō), and folk rituals repurposed for novel health outcomes, in both Japan and greater East Asia. Prior research includes long-term examination of patient experiences in a Kagoshima dialysis clinic, and an ongoing project advocating against legislation forcing the medicalization of traditional irezumi tattooing.


  • ANTH 302: Medical Anthropology

    This course explores the cultural, social, economic, political, and environmental factors that affect health and well- being-as well as the practice of healing and medicine-across cultures. We will use theories and methods from critical medical anthropology to examine the social determinants of health and health inequality.

  • ANTH 313: Global Health Issues

    This course examines the effects of globalization on the health of people around the globe and relates disparities in the spread of preventable diseases and access to basic health services to the growing inequality between rich and poor nations. The course draws from contemporary global health research to explore issues such as, the spread of infectious and chronic disease, food and water insecurity, environmental health, and the effects of violence and war on global health. The theoretical perspectives used to analyze these issues draws on the work of critical medical anthropology, eco-social epidemiology, applied anthropology, and public health.