Dr. Nessette Falu, Visiting Scholar

Nessette Falu holds a PhD in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Rice University (2015). Her research investigates how self-identified black lesbians (lesbicas negras) draw upon everyday lived experiences to self-advocate and demand respectful recognition toward their sexuality by their gynecologists. This study interconnects various angles that pivot the reproduction of “preconceito” (prejudice) such as the socio-political limitations of Brazilian healthcare reform to combat lesbian discrimination, the entrenched prejudicial attitudes manifesting during gynecological exams, and the thriving and transcending ideas of “bem-estar” (well-being) and sexual health, broadly. Her ethnographic study explores and exposes invisible acts of freedom by lesbicas negras. She is the recipient of a generous fieldwork grant from the Ruth Landes Memorial Foundation, which included seed funds for media production leading to film footage produced during fieldwork for a short film.

She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Scholar at Lehigh University in the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. In 2014-2015, she taught as a part-time lecturer in the Anthropology Department at Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. Her courses included Sexuality and Eroticism in Global Perspective, Body Politics, and Medical Anthropology. She was the 2013-2014 Sarah Pettit Dissertation Fellow in LGBT Studies at Yale University. Furthermore, she was an active member from 2008-2012 at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice while completing a graduate certificate program. She also worked a graduate fellow with the Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture at Rice that bridges intellectual community and promotes race scholarship and pedagogy. She holds a Masters of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary. She has been a practicing Physician Assistant since 2001 in Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, and HIV Care. Currently, she works in Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY.  Her hometown is New York City, Harlem in specific.