My research combines approaches from medical anthropology, gender studies and science and technology studies to explore the gendered social consequences of aging, illness, sexual health problems and related medical treatments. Broadly, I am interested in the relationships between gender (especially masculinities), new medical technologies/areas of medicalization, and people’s sex lives and senses of self. My research focuses on Mexico, where gender norms and links between ethnicity, biology and sexuality are widely discussed and hotly contested, although I occasionally research issues of sexuality and medicine in the US.
My 2013 book "Maturing Masculinities: Aging, Chronic Illness and Viagra in Mexico" (Duke UP), along with related articles, explores the ways that older, working-class Mexican men rejected the notion that “erectile dysfunction” should be treated medically to incorporate decreasing erectile function into their evolving forms of masculinity.
I am currently focusing on publishing from an ethnographic research based in the Cuernavaca arm of a multinational, longitudinal study of human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission. This research explores the co-construction of heterosexuality, identity and “Mexicanness” among participating couples, as well as the interplay between recent economic and narcoviolence crises and people's experiences of research participation.
Finally, I am committed to raising anthropology’s profile in interdisciplinary health research. To this end, I co-edited a 2012 volume, "Medical Anthropology at the Intersections": Histories, Activisms and Futures" with Marcia Inhorn, and collaborate with scholars from a variety of disciplines on mixed-methods studies of gendered health practices in Mexico.
Publications from all of these projects can be found at https://uiowa.academia.edu/EmilyWentzell.
I also serve as the Faculty Director of the University of Iowa’s International Studies BA program.
Anthropology of Sexuality
Health in Mexico
Anthropology and Contemporary World Problems
Using Ethnographic Methods
Anthropology of Science, Technology and Gender
Seminar in Sociocultural Anthropology: Nature/Culture Debate