Caroline Parker is the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Anthropology. Her work combines approaches in cultural and medical anthropology and public health with a geographical focus on the Caribbean and the urban United States.
Her anthropological work engages questions of social suffering, poverty, and inequality; addiction therapeutics, labor, and the carceral state, and liberalism, boredom, and temporality. Her work has been published in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Culture, Health and Sexuality, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Her first book project, "Labors of Recovery: Superfluity and Livelihood in Puerto Rican Addiction Shelters," examines the use of unpaid labor as a treatment for drug addiction in Puerto Rican addiction shelters. Through ethnographic research conducted among Puerto Rican therapeutic communities, this project explores addiction shelter’s moral orientation to work, with a view to better understanding what an imperative to “work” might mean in places where there is not enough work. She has also published widely on HIV/AIDS, sexuality and gender, and most recently about the lessons we can learn from the AIDS epidemic to inform the US opioid response. Caroline’s research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, the US National Institutes of Health, the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Social Science Research Council, as well as the Biosocial Society and the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University.