Carolyn Behrman, Ph.D.
Office: Olin 239
Dr. Behrman’s interests lie in urbanization processes as they relate to gender, health, power and poverty. These interests lead to her study economic and cultural aspects of women’s work and family health in low-income, peri-urban and urban settings in the U.S. and southern Africa as well as to explore school culture and low-income urban elementary school children’s diet and activity in the U.S. Her training in both physical and cultural anthropology are reflected in the questions she frames and in the combination of data types and collection techniques that she employs. Dr. Behrman teaches Human Diversity, Medical Anthropology, the Anthropology of Sex and Gender, and a two-course sequence in research methods (Introduction to Anthropological Data, Anthropological Field Methods) in her department which is entirely undergraduate and emphasizes research experience for its majors.
A staunch advocate for community-based research and service-learning (CBRSL), Dr. Behrman devotes part of her time to cultivating community-based partnerships and developing curriculum that aligns course content goals with partners’ concerns. CBRSL projects have become an integral part of the two-course sequence in research methods. Dr. Behrman has directed the Mason School Project, a longitudinal study of the effects of a SL partnership between the University of Akron and an urban elementary school on both partners, as well as on the elementary students’ attitudes toward school and students’ success in school. She is also directed the CBRSL study “Food for Thought” in collaboration with a fifth grade public school science teacher, a school food specialist, and fifth grade partners. This focused on food insecurity for urban elementary school students. Currently she is overseeing community-based research focused on power and poverty in partnership with an urban Block Watch. In collaboration with Isa Rodriguez-Soto and funded undergraduate research fellows, she is also studying food and culture change for urban immigrants and refugees from Burma.
Dr. Behrman has extended her graduate training in research methods through an NSF-funded Short Course in Research Methods operated by Duke University, a summer research fellowship with the Institute for Health and Social Policy at the University of Akron, and a week-long workshop on Culture, Health and Human Development sponsored by National Institutes of Health and the School of Family Studies, University of Connecticut. She led the Service Learning Research Team at the Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Akron for two years and is a faculty mentor and member of the advisory board for the Center for Conflict Management.