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Faculty Bios

All courses are taught by the Institute for Health & Socio-Economic Policy faculty, the research arm of National Nurses United, through American University’s Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

KB Burnside-Oxendine

KB received her B.A. in English from Brown University, and her Ph.D. in Literature with a certificate in Feminist Theory from Duke University. Her primary interests include the history of legal thought and Anglo-American legal institutions, discourse and cultural analysis, and contemporary political formations. KB’s graduate research explored how twentieth-century developments in economic theory affected the shift in American legal ideology from communitarian to liberalist paradigms. Other fields of research and published work have focused on processes of normalization and the possibilities for ethical encounter in the context of the criminal justice system. KB’s teaching combines methods from the humanistic disciplines with exploration into contemporary social struggles. She has designed and taught courses that draw upon topics ranging from continental philosophy, legal studies, and political economy, to rhetoric, narrative analysis, and cultural critique. 

Erin Evans

Erin’s education reflects her interest in interdisciplinary studies. She received her BA in English Literature and Psychology (2003) and her MA in Political Science (2008) from San Francisco State University. Erin went on to receive her Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California, Irvine in 2016. Specializing in Political Sociology, Erin’s research focuses on collective behavior and social movements, science studies, and institutionalization. Her work is concerned primarily with social movement outcomes, and explores how activists affect change in institutions that are both political and not explicitly political, like laboratory science, regulatory agencies, and mass media. This work is both domestically and internationally focused, including seeking to explain the international diffusion of environmental protest and the effects of constitutional law protecting the environment and animals. Erin has taught courses on a wide range of topics including Politics as a Social Institution, Social Psychology, and Juvenile Delinquency and Justice.

Alana Lee Glaser

Alana Lee received her B.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University. Supported by the Wenner-Gren, her ethnographic research chronicled the impact of new labor law implementation (the 2010 New York Domestic Worker Bill of Rights) on the multicultural immigrant-led organizations responsible for its passage as well as its unexpected sequelae in the daily lives of individual West Indian Caribbean and West African women working as caregivers in New York City. For National Nurses United, her work has connected US nursing practice to international concerns of inequality, public health, militarization, and the relationship among these phenomena. She has taught classes explicating the role of austerity measures, privatization, and the retrenchment of the welfare state in spreading infectious diseases and exacerbating health disparities. Research foci include domestic and service sector work, migration, class, gender, race, aging, labor process, and political economy.

Heidi Hoechst

Heidi is lead educator at National Nurses United. She holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Cultural Studies and Literature from the University of California, San Diego. In her classes, she uses socio-cultural systems and structural analysis as a framework for understanding structured advantages and disadvantages that cumulatively contribute to compound socio-economic, health, and life disparities. Her classes build on class-based analytics to bring historical context and strategically engaged critical thinking models to movements for economic and social justice. She has taught in a wide array of interdisciplinary Women’s, Gender, Feminist, Sexuality, Critical Race, Critical Legal, Cultural, and American Studies programs at Tulane University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; Cornell University; Auburn State Correctional Facility; the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of California, San Diego.

Christopher Nielsen

Christopher has a B.A. in anthropology and linguistics and an M.A. in Spanish from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in Latin American literature and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. His research and teaching interests range widely, from the global circulation of drugs and the political economy of migration to political philosophy and theories of digital labor. His current research focuses on the crucial role care work plays in emerging movements to resist and transcend the inequality, precariousness, and violence that have come to characterize our increasingly automated, virtualized, and datafied global economy. He has taught Spanish language and Latin American literature and culture at BYU and Pitt, philosophy at Utah Valley University, the global political economy of both food and pharmaceuticals at Rutgers University, and continuing education on the technological restructuring of healthcare for National Nurses United.

Julia Wartenberg

Julia received her B.A. in Sociology from Fairfield University, her M.A. in Sociology from American University, and her PhD in Sociology from University of Virginia. Her areas of research focus on women in violent conflicts, women and unpaid care in the U.S. economy, and the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender with economic stratification. Her work has appeared in the SAGE Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, The Gendered Perspectives on International Development Resource Bulletin and other journals. Prior to joining National Nurses United, Julia worked on disability issues at the American Foundation for the Blind, served as Director of the Global Women’s Project at the Center of Concern, and spent a year at the International Law Institute where her work focused on legal and technical infrastructure issues in international development. In addition, she has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at George Mason University in the Department of Global Affairs and has served as a guest lecturer on a variety of topics at several universities.

Related Links

American University
American University, Department of Anthropology
American University, College of Arts and Sciences