Skip to main content

Anthropology Department Faculty

Kathryn Mariner

Kathryn Mariner

  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual and Cultural Studies
  • On Leave (AY 2019-2020)

PhD, University of Chicago, 2015

444 Lattimore Hall
(585) 275-8734
Fax: (585) 273-5331

Research Overview

Professor Mariner's research examines the relationship between social inequality and intimacy in the United States. Her first book, Contingent Kinship (University of California Press, 2019), is based on her research at a private adoption agency specializing in the transracial placement of biracial and African American children in Chicago. In developing the theoretical concept of “intimate speculation,” the book explores the speculative logics of domestic transracial adoption, by attending to how raced and classed exchanges of power, money, and knowledge produce notions of the black child as a highly contingent imagined future. Professor Mariner is also trained in clinical social work and uses that background to inform her ethnographic practice. She is currently launching a new research project investigating the relationship between race, space, and social inequality in Rochester, specifically examining how individuals from marginalized groups build spaces of community within the context of hypersegregation.

Selected Publications


Journal Articles

  • Mariner, Kathryn A. Forthcoming. "White Parents, Black Care: Entanglements of Race and Kinship in American Transracial Adoption." American Anthropologist.
  • Mariner, Kathryn A. 2018. "The Specular Un/Making of Kinship: American Adoption's Penetrating Gaze." Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 83(5): 968-985. doi: 10.1080/00141844.2017.1377744


  • ANT 104: Contemporary Issues: Reproduction
  • ANT 204: Ethnographic Themes: American Kinship(s)
  • ANT 235: The Black Body: Intersecting Intimacies
  • ANT 288: The Social Construction of Whiteness
  • ANT 307: Race and Space in the City


  • Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, 2019
  • University Research Award, University of Rochester, 2018
  • W.E.B. DuBois Award for Educational Excellence, Black Students' Union, 2018
  • Internal Junior Fellow, Humanities Center, University of Rochester, Fall 2018
  • Lichtstern Distinguished Dissertation Prize, University of Chicago Department of Anthropology, 2016
  • Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2014-2015
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2008-2011
  • Mellon Mays Fellowship, 2006