Joanna Mishtal

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of Central Florida



Joanna Mishtal is a medical anthropologist focusing on reproductive health and policies in Eastern Europe and the European Union. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and held the Charlotte Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, from 2006 to 2008. Currently she is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida. Her theoretical and research interests include reproductive rights, health and policies, demographic anthropology and fertility decline, gender and politics, global women’s health, feminism and women’s movements.

Mishtal’s original research in Poland examines the contentious nature of reproductive politics and democratization that emerged since the fall of communism in 1989. During her postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University she investigated Poland’s rapidly declining fertility despite significant policy restrictions on family planning. Her long-term fieldwork in Poland between 2000 and 2015 resulted in the publication of an ethnography, The Politics of Morality: the Church, the State, and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland (Ohio University Press, 2015).

Her current research, initiated in 2008, is situated in Dublin and Brussels and builds on her interest in the politics of gender and health. It examines the practice of refusals of reproductive health services by providers who cite conscientious objection. Her analysis of medical practices is triangulated with policy research at the EU where the question of how to regulate conscientious objection within the Union is emerging as an urgent bioethical concern.

Her new research, starting in 2016 in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Barcelona and Ibis Reproductive Health and funded by the European Research Council, is a 5-year study examining the experiences of European women who travel to other regions or countries within the European Union to seek abortion care. This mixed methods 5-country project combines anthropology and epidemiology to investigate a growing but poorly understood phenomenon of reproductive health travel, and focuses on the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain. Women’s experiences will be contextualized of policy analysis reproductive rights and healthcare across European nations, and advocacy efforts in reproductive health and rights in Europe.

Mishtal’s work has been previously funded by the Fulbright Scholarship, Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Brocher Foundation, European Society for Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, and currently by the European Research Council.


Departmental Biography 

Dr. Mishtal's Book 


Photo CPRC Mishtal.JPG Joanna Mishtal
University of Central Florida
Howard Phillips Hall 309
4000 Central Florida Blvd.