Anna Kirkland is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of Women's Studies, Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Science and Technology Studies (STS) program. She holds a courtesy appointment in Political Science. Professor Kirkland earned her J.D. (2001) and Ph.D. (Jurisprudence and Social Policy, 2003) from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has focused on the interactions between identity categories, discrimination, and health. Primarily situated in the law and society tradition, Professor Kirkland also works within science studies, disability studies, and gender studies using theoretical and interpretive methods. Her first book, Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood, was published in 2008 by New York University Press. She is the co-editor with Jonathan Metzl of Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality (New York University Press, 2010). Her published articles analyze rights consciousness in the fat acceptance movement, the environmental approach to anti-obesity policy, transgendered plaintiffs who win their cases, transgender discrimination as sex discrimination, whether fatness fits into disability law and advocacy, and what accounts of diversity appear in the required Michigan undergraduate application essay on diversity.
Professor Kirkland is currently working on a new book on politics of health and knowledge as seen through the federal vaccine safety and injury compensation system in the contemporary U.S. Two new articles analyze the place of vaccine critics in policy making and the credibility struggles in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings. She teaches courses on gender, sexuality, politics and law in Women's Studies and Political Science, and was recently awarded the Class of 1923 Teaching Award from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.