Holly Donahue Singh

Sociocultural Anthropology

Regional focus: South Asia, India.

Topical interests: Reproduction, kinship studies, medical anthropology.

My topical interests developed out of many hours of conversation with female Indian university students who became my neighbors and friends in the dorm where I lived in 2000-2001 as a Fulbright scholar in the north Indian city of Lucknow. My dissertation research in Lucknow examines Muslims' views of the value of children as they express it through cultural definitions of appropriate reproduction, and in reference to the challenges of managing infertility culturally, medically, and/or spiritually. My research focuses specifically on the intersection of education, class, and religion in Muslim explanatory models of infertility. I am interested in how these factors shape Muslims' ideas about what infertility is, what infertility means, and the methods Muslims can and/or should employ to alleviate the suffering they associate with being unable to fulfill their aspirations for the ideal number and sex of children.

I have taught the following independent courses at UVA:

HIND201/202: Intermediate Hindi
ANTH 239: Introduction to the Anthropology of Sex and Gender
ANTH 252: Men and Masculinities in South Asia
ANTH258/SWAG 258: Anthropology of Reproduction: Fertility and the Future
SWAG 302: Gender in Muslim Lives
SOM 3507: Culture and Medicine

MA Paper: 2004. Our Two, Your Twenty-five? Hierarchy and the Politics of Reproduction "Writ Large" in Contemporary India


  • 2007 - Notes from the Field. Council on Anthropology & Reproduction Newsletter 14(2), November , p. 10.
  • 2006 - Give Me Your Sorrows. Translation of Urdu short story, Apne Dukh Mujhe De Doby Rajinder Singh Bedi. Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 21, , p. 250-272.