Research Expertise and Interest
social cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, folklore and performance, racialization, linguistic anthropology
Charles Briggs is the Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor in Folkloristics and a professor in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. He is interested in philosophical and ethnographic issues regarding how bodies, media, viruses and bacteria, narratives and songs, and race constantly get mixed up, sometimes fatally. He has engage these issues by investigating epidemics of cholera and rabies in Venezuela, struggling with relatives, doctors, nurses, healers, and epidemiologists to figure out why so many people die from preventable diseases. His concern with infectiousness spreads from microbes to narratives, to thinking about who produces the stories of H1N1, Ebola, diabetes, etc. that proliferate in traditional and social media, thereby shaping the imaginations of policymakers, clinicians, journalists, and publics.