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Kenneth MacLeish

Associate Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Ken MacLeish, PhD, is Associate Professor of Medicine, Health & Society and Anthropology. His research focuses on bodily and emotional experiences of contemporary war; the emergence and contestation of war-related health problems; and the framing of “disorderly” military life in policy, veteran care practices, and American public culture. Ken work covers topics including military suicide, posttraumatic stress disorder, moral injury, civilian casualties, the politics of counterinsurgency, representations of war in American politics and public culture, military pollution and toxic exposure, and veteran involvement in the carceral system. His scholarship has appeared in the journals Medical Anthropology, BioSocieties, Theory, Culture & Society, Security Dialog, Cultural Anthropology, History of the Human Sciences, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Critical Military Studies, and Ethnos, as well as the American Journal of Public Health. He is the author of the award-winning Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community (Princeton University Press, 2013), which explores how contemporary war-making takes shape in the everyday and intimate lives of the servicemembers, veterans, families, and care providers whose labor produces post-9/11 US wars. His in-progress book, Veteran Disorder: Care and Ex-Military Life (Princeton University Press), shows how structural forces intersect with lay and medical ideas about normalcy to shape veteran lives, especially when veterans themselves become figured as sources of social disorder. Ken is also at work on a co-authored book with anthropologists Zoë Wool and Kali Rubaii about the health and environmental consequences of US military burn pits and the broader formations of military pollution of which they are a part.

Ken teaches classes on medical anthropology, US health politics, war and embodiment, trauma and memory, surveillance and security, and qualitative research methods. He is a member of the interdisciplinary Somatosphere editorial collective and the Costs of War research collective, and a former chair of the Vanderbilt University Press editorial committee.