Holly Wardlow

Holly Wardlow
Interim Director (ICHS) and Professor


Trained in both socio-cultural anthropology and public health, Dr. Wardlow is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of Toronto (St. George), and currently serves as the Interim Director for the ICHS. Her early research in Papua New Guinea focused on “passenger women” – women who exchange sex for money, but whose life histories and motivations do not easily align with the assumptions often brought to terms such as “sex work” or “transactional sex.”  More recent research includes “Love, Marriage, and HIV: A Multi-Sited Ethnographic Study of Gender and HIV Risk.” Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, this comparative project investigated married women’s risk for HIV in five countries: Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, and Vietnam. Most recently, Dr. Wardlow has conducted research on the lived experience of being HIV-positive and in treatment in Papua New Guinea. She is now writing a book that tells the story of HIV/AIDS in Tari, Papua New Guinea through women’s eyes, from the environments and social relations that made them vulnerable to HIV (e.g. mining sites and political turmoil) to their variable experiences of love, acceptance, or violent rejection upon receiving a positive diagnosis. 


Research Interests: 

Gender, Sexuality, and HIV

Gender and Interpersonal Violence

Tensions between Personhood and Patient-hood


Teaching Interests: 

Global Health

Gender and Health

Theory in Anthropology

Love, Sex, and Marriage


Awards and Grants: 

2013  Visiting Scholar, La Trobe University

2012  Visiting Scholar, University of Lucerne

2012  Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Australian National University,

2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2010: The Secret: Love, Marriage, and HIV.

2008-2014  SSHRC Standard Research Grant: “The Moral Politics of ‘Reliable’ Personhood and the Social Life of Antiretroviral Therapy Policy in Papua New Guinea.” 

2003-2007  NIH Research Grant: “Love, Marriage, and HIV: A Multi-Sited Ethnographic Study of Gender and HIV Risk.” (Co-Investigator) Principal Investigator: Jennifer Hirsch. Other Co-Investigators: Daniel Smith, Shanti Parikh, Harriet Phinney, Constance Nathanson.





2010    Jennifer Hirsch, Holly Wardlow, Daniel Smith, Shanti Parikh, Harriet Phinney, and Constance Nathanson. The Secret: Love, Marriage, and HIV. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.


2006    Wayward Women: Sexuality and Agency in a New Guinea Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Articles and Book Chapters

In press  “HIV, Phone Friends, and Affective Technology in Papua New Guinea.” In, R. Foster and H. Horst (eds.), The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones in the Pacific. Canberra: ANU Press.

2017   “The (Extra)ordinary Ethics of Being HIV-positive in Rural Papua New Guinea.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23(1): 103 – 119.

2014   “Paradoxical Intimacies: the Christian Creation of the Huli Domestic Sphere.” In Hyaeweol Choi and Margaret Jolly (eds.), Divine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific, pp. 325-344. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

2012  “The Task of the HIV Translator: Transforming Global AIDS Knowledge in an Awareness Workshop.” Medical Anthropology 31(5): 404-419.

2007  “Men’s Extramarital Sexuality in Rural Papua New Guinea.” American Journal of Public Health 97(6): 1006-1014.




Canadian Anthropology Society

American Anthropological Association

Society for Medical Anthropology

American Ethnological Society

Melanesian Interest Group

Association for Feminist Anthropology



PhD, Anthropology, Emory University

MPH, International Health, Emory University

BA, Literature, Yale University