Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes's picture
Assistant Professor (Medical Anthropology & Public Health)
Special Interests: 
Medical anthropology, transnational im/migration, race and racism, gender and queer studies, the naturalization and normalization of social and health inequalities, symbolic violence, Latin America, the United States.

Seth M. Holmes is a cultural and medical anthropologist and physician whose work focuses broadly on social hierarchies, health inequalities, and the ways in which such inequalities are naturalized and normalized.


Current Projects

     Seth M. Holmes is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health's Community Health and Human Development Division and the Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology.  He is Co-Director of the MD/PhD Track in Medical Anthropology coordinated between UCSF and UC Berkeley.  
     Holmes is currently investigating social hierarchies, health, health care and the naturalization and normalization of difference and inequality in the context of transnational US-Mexico im/migration. This project led to the publication of the book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United Status (California Series in Public Anthropology, University of California Press, 2013).  An article from this work was awarded the Rudolf Virchow Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology. Concurrently, Holmes is conducting research into the production of the clinical habitus, subjectivity, and gaze, in other words the processes through which biomedical trainees learn to perceive and respond to social differences and inequalities. In addition, Dr. Holmes is exploring new research into the social, symbolic, and political processes producing HIV death among specific categories of people, particularly Latino day laborers and other ethno-racial and sexual minorities and marginalized groups. This exploration attempts to address the ways in which political economic phenomena and social and symbolic categories produce structural vulnerability and what is framed in public health as individual choice and behavior.
     Holmes is affiliated faculty in the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Minor in LGBT Studies (UCB), Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory (UCB), Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society (UCB), Center for Race and Gender (UCB), Health Disparities and Diversity Faculty Cluster (UCB), Joint Medical MD/MS Program (UCB/UCSF), Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine (UCSF), Department of Medicine, Highland Hospital, School of Medicine (UCSF), Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (UCSD), and Education Abroad Program Committee on Latin America (UCOP).  
Education and Fellowships
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar, Columbia University
Fellow, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University
Fellow, Department of Anthropology and Division of Medical Humanities, University of Rochester
Intern and Resident, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco
M.D., School of Medicine, UC San Francisco
B.S., Ecology and Spanish / Latin American Studies, University of Washington


Representative Publications: 

Selected Journal Articles

Holmes SM. 2012. The Clinical Gaze in the Practice of Migrant Health: Mexican Migrants in the United States. Social Science & Medicine. 74(6) : 873-881.
Holmes SM. Structural Vulnerability and Hierarchies of Ethnicity and Citizenship on the Farm. Medical Anthropology. 2011; 30(4):425-49.
Holmes SM. Anthropology and Its Contact Zones. Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers. 2011; 100(1):5-7.
Holmes SM, Jenks AC, Stonington S. Clinical subjectivation: anthropologies of contemporary biomedical training. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 2011; 35(2):105-12.
Holmes SM, Jenks A, and Stonington S, eds.  Anthropologies of Contemporary Clinical Training.  Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.  2011; 35(2).  
Holmes SM and Ponte M. En-case-ing the Patient: Disciplining Uncertainty in Medical Student Patient Presentations.Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 2011; 35(2):163-82.
Holmes SM. Oaxacans Like to Work Bent Over: The Naturalization of Social Suffering Among Berry Farm Workers. International Migration. 2007; 45(3):39-68.
Holmes SM. Parce qu'ils sont plus pres sol: L'invisibilisation de la souffrance sociale des cueilleurs de baies. Actes de Recherche en Sciences Sociales. 2006; 165(2):28-51.
Holmes SM. An Ethnographic Study of the Social Context of Migrant Health in the United States. Public Library of Science Medicine. 2006; 3(10):e448.
Holtz T, Holmes SM, Stonington S, Eisenberg L. Health is Still Social: Contemporary Examples in the Age of the Genome. Public Library of Science Medicine. 2006; 3(10):e419.
Stonington S, Holmes SM. Social Medicine in the Twenty-First Century. Public Library of Science Medicine. 2006; 3(20):e455.
Holmes SM. Pathologies of Power. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 2005; 48(1):153-156.
Books and Edited Volumes
Holmes SM, Jenks A, and Stonington S, eds.  Anthropologies of Contemporary Clinical Training.  Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry.  2011; 35(2).  
Stonington S, Holmes SM. Social Medicine in the Twenty-First Century. Public Library of Science Medicine. 2006; 3(20):e455.
Curriculum Vitae: