Rachel R. Chapman (she/her/hers/theirs)

Associate Professor
color headshot of Rachel Chapman with head wrap

Contact Information

Denny Hall, 236


Dr. Rachel R. Chapman is a Black feminist activist anthropologist who uses alternative and native (alter/native) and anti-racist approaches to decolonizing anthropology for social transformation and racial justice.
Ph.D. Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. 1998
M.A. Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. 1991
M.A. African Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT. 1988
B.A. Literature; Afro-American Studies; Yale University, New Haven, CT. 1986, magna-cum-laude
Curriculum Vitae (471.64 KB)

Decolonizing Anthropology for Global Racial and Transformative Justice

Rachel Chapman is a Black feminist activist anthropologist who uses alternative and native (alter/native), and performative, racial and social justice approaches, and an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, and adjunct associate professor in Global Health and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. Professor Chapman’s research, teaching and service focus on global health disparities, suffering and resistance through an inter-sectional transformative justice lens, as well as identifying and addressing the effects of systemic racism in health institutions, policies and practices on communities of color.  Her expertise encompasses race, racism and reproduction; survivance and liberation practices among African and African Diaspora communities; impact of structurally violent economic austerity policies on health and decolonization movements; and reproductive health trauma. She has conducted research in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Mozambique, and Seattle.  Her core projects include Black women’s reproductive care-seeking; the impact of gender violence on health; HIV treatment during pregnancy; perinatal care-giving in refugee and immigrant communities; teen peace-making and restorative justice in urban communities.

Her ethnography, Family Secrets: Risking Reproduction in Central Mozambique (2010), documents a decade of women’s post-civil war pregnancy and birth experiences as the HIV/AIDS epidemic exploded.  She has published in numerous journals including Social Science and Medicine, Medical Anthropology, and the Journal of AIDS and Society.  Since then, she has focused on  understanding community and clinic influences of the HIV epidemic on pregnant women and infants; developing models to improve maternal antiretroviral care; and evaluating the impact of new AIDS service delivery models, funded by a competitive three year National Institute of Health (NIH) RO1 grant.  Two new grants document Seattle’s East African refugee and immigrant community health needs and test a community-based model of innovative perinatal care with these families.  Her latest grant seeks to improve management maternal pre-eclampsia, stress and depression during COVID-19 quarantine.

 In her teaching and scholarship, Chapman utilizes community-driven, participatory action and performance methodologies to create classrooms as sacred circles that are also “Liberation Labs.”  She calls her approaches to teaching "Alter/Native Anthropology", “Liberation Methodologies”, “Embodied Pedagogy of Engagement” and "Activist Performance."


Selected Research

Courses Taught

Summer 2024

Spring 2024

Winter 2024

Summer 2023

Spring 2023

Winter 2023

Autumn 2022

Summer 2022

Spring 2022

Winter 2022

Autumn 2021

Summer 2021

Spring 2021

Winter 2021

Additional Courses


Introduction to Medical Anthropology and Global Health
The Anthropology of Race, Class and Gender
The Anthropology of Gender, Health and Reproduction
The Anthropology of Birth

The Economy of Women in Development
Reading Ethnography
The Political Economy of Gender and Development
Africa Living with HIV/AIDS
Body and Soul: Medical Anthropology of Global Health for Social Justice in the #BLM Era
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the US
Feminist Performance Methods and Theory
Contemporary/Experiential Anthropology
Alter/Native Anthropology – Decolonizing Anthropology for Good
Embodied Liberation Methodologies
Honors Proposal Writing


Resources & Related Links


Home Department
Professional Affiliations
American Anthropological Association (AAA), Association of Black Anthropologists (ABA), Association of Feminist Anthropologists (AFA), Society for Medical Anthropologists (SMA), The Council on Anthropology and Reproduction (CAR), African American American Health Board Seattle

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