College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Laura Eichelberger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Anthropology

Research area: Cultural Anthropology


Phone: (210) 458-5722

Office: MH 4.04.50

Research in Progress

I combine critical medical anthropology and political ecology perspectives and use ethnographic and epidemiologic methods to connect problems related to economic and environmental sustainability to specific health outcomes at different life stages and historical time periods. Through these lenses, I examine the interplay between health, power, and socio-environmental changes over time. Throughout, I am interested in how people make sense of experiences of structural vulnerability and health disparities through political, economic, and cultural frameworks.

My current research examines the political ecology of water insecurity and related health outcomes, and efforts to address health disparities in Native American/Alaska Native communities. I am continuing my research on water insecurity, energy issues, and the politics of sustainability in Arctic Alaska amid the increasing effects of climate change. I am also engaged in research that combines qualitative and epidemiologic data to examine issues around structural vulnerability, cancer, and the environment.


Ph.D., U of Arizona, 2011
MPH, Johns Hopkins U, 2012


Prospective students: I am accepting MA and PhD students.  My current areas of research are in the areas of the politics of water and health, sanitation, and Indigenous health. I especially welcome applications from applicants interested in exploring connections between the environment and health, and/or those with applied research interests in health and development.

Representative Publications

2017 - Eichelberger, L. Household Water Insecurity and Its Cultural Dimensions: Preliminary Results from Newtok, Alaska. Environmental Science and Pollution Research Institute.

2016 - Eichelberger, L. Remembering the Foundations of Health: Everyday Water Insecurity and its Hidden Costs in Northwest Alaska.” In A Companion to Environmental Health: Anthropological Perspectives, edited by M. Singer, pp. 236-265. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

2015.  Eichelberger, L., A. Etemadi, G. Murphy, F. Islami, C. Abnet, S. Dawsey and R. Malekzadeh.  Risk of Gastric Adenocarcinoma by Water Source in the Golestan Gastric Cancer Case-Control Study. PLOS One 10(5): e0128491.

2014 - Eichelberger, L. Spoiling and Sustainability: Technology, Water Insecurity, and Visibility in Arctic Alaska. Medical Anthropology.

2012 - Eichelberger, L. Sustainability and the Politics of Calculation: Technologies of “Safe Water,” Subject-making, and Domination. Journal of Political Ecology 19, pp.145-161.

2010 - Eichelberger, L. Living in Utility Scarcity: Energy and Water Insecurity in Northwest Alaska. American Journal of Public Health 100(6), pp. 1010-1018.

2007 - Eichelberger, L. SARS and New York’s Chinatown: The politics of risk and blame during an epidemic of fear. Social Science and Medicine 65(6), pp. 1284-1295.


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Main Office: MH 4.03.38

Department of Anthropology

University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249-1644