Joanna Mishtal
Alumni: Cultural Anthropology

Dr. Mishtal is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida. She received her M.A. in 2000, and Ph.D. in 2006 in cultural anthropology from the CU Department of Anthropology, under the direction of Dr. Donna Goldstein.  She was then awarded the Charlotte Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, from 2006 to 2008, where she was mentored by Dr. Wendy Chavkin.

During her doctoral and postdoctoral programs, she conducted 21 months of fieldwork in Kraków, Warsaw, and Gdańsk, Poland.  Her research examines the contentious nature of reproductive rights politics, in particular abortion politics, that emerged since the fall of state socialism in 1989.  Her approach is to integrate cultural anthropology with feminist and public health theoretical concerns.  In 2011, she was fortunate to be awarded the Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Fellowship which gave her time release from teaching to work full-time on a book manuscript based on this research.  The resulting manuscript Contradictions of Democratization: Reproductive Rights and the Politics of Morality in Poland is now under external review with Ohio University Press.

Her most recent research projects in Ireland and at the European Union in Brussels build on her interests in reproductive rights and policies, and focus in particular on EU’s governance, and on the ways in which European citizenship and member states’ sovereignty are understood and enacted in matters of gender, health, and women’s rights.  In 2013, she was awarded the IREX Grant to continue her work in Europe in 2014, as well as the European Society of Contraception & Reproductive Health Grant to launch a new collaborative research project in the UK with colleagues from UC San Francisco and Goldsmiths - University of London.

In 2013, she was fortunate to receive both the College of Sciences and the University Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards, for recognition as the best teacher at COS as well as the best teacher at UCF for 2013.

About Her Experience in the Anthropology Department

"I had a very positive graduate education experience at CU in terms of the guidance and encouragement I received with my research, and the opportunities to experience teaching as a TA and in my own classes.  Donna Goldstein has been a very supportive and dedicated mentor, but also a true role model.  Her ethnography Laughter Out of Place is anthropological scholarship at its best, and as Donna’s graduate student at the time, I was able to see first-hand the intense intellectual effort and disciplined work that went into producing this award-winning ethnography.  Donna also visited me in the field in Poland, which gave me the encouragement I needed during the difficult year-long fieldwork.  I was grateful that she vigorously pushed me to pursue external and internal funding, as I was able to secure the Fulbright Scholarship, the American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Fellowship, and the Thomas Edwin Devaney Dissertation Fellowship.  I’m also very appreciative of the research support from the Anthropology Department which awarded me both the Pre-Dissertation and Dissertation Fellowships. 

Going through the program at the Department of Anthropology I also made some great friends along the way, many of whom are dispersed around the country, but we stay in touch and enjoy keeping track of each other’s adventures."