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Kylea Laina Liese
Graduate Dissertation Fellow 2008-09, Anthropology

Liese is a sixth year doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology, where her focus is medical anthropology. Her dissertation investigates maternal mortality and survival across the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border. Northern Afghanistan has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world. Meanwhile, women just across the border in Tajikistan are sixty-five times less likely to die in childbirth. What makes women in one poor, post-conflict, highly conservative mountainous country (Afghanistan) so much more likely to die in childbirth than women a geographically contiguous poor, post-conflict, highly conservative, mountainous country (e.g., Tajikistan)? Kylea's dissertation explains this startling variation with ethnographic data collected from over 15 months of fieldwork in villages in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Her work informs questions at the intersection of global health, medicine, and anthropology. Through her research and writing, Kylea seeks to bring a textured understanding of how women in peripheral societies suffer and survive maternal death.