Amber Benezra (abenezra)

Amber Benezra

Assistant Professor


  • PhD (2014) New School for Social Research (Sociocultural Anthropology)
  • MA (2007) New School for Social Research (Sociocultural Anthropology)
  • MA (2000) New School for Social Research (Media Studies and Film)
  • BA (1996) Carnegie Mellon University (Literary & Cultural Studies/Creative Writing)


Amber Benezra is a sociocultural anthropologist researching how studies of the human microbiome intersect with biomedical ethics, public health/technological infrastructures, and care. In partnership with human microbial ecologists, she is developing an "anthropology of microbes" to address global health problems across disciplines.

Her forthcoming book from University of Minnesota Press, Anthrobiota: Coevolving an Anthropology of Microbes, is the first ethnography of the microbiome. Based on fieldwork at the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the book explores how the study of human microbiota opens up new ontological terrain for social scientists. An anthropology of microbes operationalizes ethnographic knowledge, asking us to be ethnographers of and for microbiome research, facing the corresponding compromises and uncertainties, challenges and failures. What would it mean for anthropology to act with science?

Institutional Service

  • Committee on Committees Member
  • Junior Faculty Board of Representatives Member
  • Pinnacle and Clark Scholars Summer Research Program Member
  • Stevens Faculty for Gender Diversity Member
  • Graduate Curriculum Committee Member

Professional Service

  • Society for Medical Anthropology/American Anthropological Association Editorial Board
  • Medical Anthropology Quarterly Digital Editor
  • National Science Foundation NSF Engineering Research Center Site Visit Team

Professional Societies

  • AGA – American Geographers Association Member
  • NYAS – New York Academy of Sciences Member
  • 4S – Society for the Social Studies of Science Member
  • AAA – American Anthropological Association Member
  • AFA – Association for Feminist Anthropology Member
  • SCA – Society for Cultural Anthropology Member
  • SMA – Society for Medical Anthropology Member

Selected Publications


  1. Benezra, A. (2023). Gut Anthro: An Experiment in Thinking with Microbes. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Book Chapter

  1. Benezra, A. (2018). Making Microbiomes. Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society (pp. 283-290). Routledge.
  2. Benezra, A. (2016). Feminist Anthropology. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbook: Gender/Nature (pp. 17-28). Macmillan.

Journal Article

  1. Benezra, A. (2022). Microbial Kin: Relations of Environment and Time. Medical Anthropology Quarterly (4 ed., vol. 35 , pp. 511-528).
  2. Benezra, A. (2021). Chasing Ghosts: Race, Racism, and the Future of Microbiome Research. Deciphering the Microbiome. mSystems (5 ed., vol. 6). American Society for Microbiology.
  3. Benezra, A. (2021). Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice. mSystems (4 ed., vol. 6). American Society for Microbiology.
  4. Benezra, A. (2020). Race in the Microbiome. Special Issue: Sensing Race as a Ghost Variable in Science, Technology, and Medicine. Science, Technology, and Human Values (5 ed., vol. 45, pp. 877-902). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing.
  5. Benezra, A. (2020). Setting the agenda for social science research on the human microbiome. Palgrave Communications (18 ed., vol. 6, pp. New York, NY: Nature.
  6. Benezra, A. (2016). Datafying Microbes: Malnutrition At the Intersection of Metagenomics and Global Health. BioSocieties (3 ed., vol. 11, pp. 334–351).
  7. Subramanian et al.; Benezra, A. (2014). Persistent Gut Microbiota Immaturity in Malnourished Bangladeshi Children. Nature (vol. 510, pp. 417-421).
  8. Benezra, A.; Gordon, J.; DeStefano, J. (2012). An Anthropology of Microbes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (vol. 109, pp. 6378-6382).