Shana Harris
Alumni: Cultural Anthropology

Shana received her M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2004. After leaving Boulder, she started a Ph.D. program in Medical Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley / University of California, San Francisco.  She graduated in 2012, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Behavioral Science Training in Drug Abuse Research Program at the National Development and Research Institutes in New York City.

Her doctoral dissertation, “Out of Harm’s Way: The Politics and Practice of Harm Reduction in Argentina,” examined drug use and the politics of intervention involved in the promotion of harm reduction in Argentina.  Based on 16 months of fieldwork in Buenos Aires and Rosario, Shana traced how harm reduction was adopted by local non-governmental organizations and select government agencies since the mid-1990s.  She illustrated ethnographically how this public health model influences the ways in which drug use, drug users, and drug user health are understood and approached institutionally in contemporary Argentina.  The National Institutes of Health, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, University of California Pacific Rim Research Program, and Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley supported this research.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Development and Research Institutes, Shana is collaborating with researchers to address opioid overdose prevention, heroin use and HIV/AIDS in Colombia, and prescription drug diversion in the eastern United States.

About Her Experience in the Anthropology Department

"My two years in Boulder were very important to my scholarly development.  I was lucky enough to TA for several professors in the Department of Anthropology, including Donna Goldstein.  I soon became Donna’s Graduate Research Assistant and traveled with her to Argentina to study HIV/AIDS and pharmaceutical policies. That experience was formative; it exposed me to fieldwork in Latin America, demonstrated the benefits of collaborative research, and introduced me to several informants for my future dissertation research in Argentina.  With Donna’s support, I was encouraged to pursue my new scholarly interests in Latin America and the politics of health.

As a member of the Department’s Colloquium Committee and a Graduate Student Representative to the Job Search Committee, I quickly realized the importance of service to my institution and my profession. I used these experiences as a springboard, serving as the coordinator for various seminar and speaker series at the University of California, San Francisco as well as an active member of the Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Study Group of the Society for Medical Anthropology.

During my time at the University of Colorado, I also met many incredible people who I consider both colleagues and friends.  I am always excited to catch up with them in person at conferences and to exchange news, ideas, viewpoints, and advice when apart."