Max  Stein


Research Interests

I am a medical anthropologist interested in the ways cultural forces shape both physiological health outcomes and deeply-rooted biological processes. I recently completed my MA thesis, examining shared knowledge of the cultural syndrome nervios in Honduras, how these ideas vary between rural and urban locations, and how closely each manifestation of the illness compares to biomedical diagnostic criteria for anxiety and depression.

For my dissertation research, I will be examining a diaspora of indigenous Andeans from the small, mountain hamlet of Chugurpampa in Northern Peru, currently residing in the large, coastal city of Trujillo, to assess the interaction of social networks, migration, and culture change in shaping biological health outcomes. Investigations begin in Summer 2013, and will contribute to extensive, longitudinal research conducted by my advisor, Kathryn Oths, evaluating change and continuity of an Andean medical system. I predict that Chugurpampan emigrants residing in Trujillo will share common goals and strive for a desired lifestyle, and I hypothesize that those individuals who are more embedded in local social networks will be more successful in implementing these shared ideals in their own lives, which transitively leads to greater physiological and psychological well-being.

I am also a member of the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG), and have been a teaching assistant for the group’s primary investigator, Chris Lynn, assisting undergraduates with methodological concerns. Additionally, I served as a research assistant in one of the studies – Costa Rica Religious Ecology Study – examining the influence of infectious disease load on religious collectivity.

My various interests outside these investigations include biocultural anthropology, cognitive anthropology, psychological anthropology, mental health, cultural syndromes, social networks, stess, culture change, migration, Latin America, neuroanthropology, mixed-methodology, and culture theory.