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Anthropology Department Faculty

Kathryn Mariner

Kathryn Mariner

  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual and Cultural Studies
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies (Spring 2019), Anthropology

PhD, University of Chicago, 2015

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

Office Hours: Mondays 2:00 - 4:00 PM and by appointment

Research Overview

Professor Mariner's research examines the relationship between social inequality and intimacy in the United States. Her forthcoming 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 between 2009 and 2016. 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 investigating how individuals from marginalized groups build spaces of community within the context of hypersegregation.

Selected Publications

Recent Publication

  • 2017. "The Specular Un/making of Kinship: Subverting the Penetrating Gaze of Adoption in the United States." Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. 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


  • University Research Award, University of Rochester, 2018
  • W.E.B. DuBois Award for 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