Rebecca J. Hester


Rebecca J. Hester

Assistant Professor


235 Lane Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061


(540) 231-8359



  • Global Health
  • Latin American Migration
  • Socio-cultural Studies of Health and Medicine
  • Critical Security Studies
  • Critical race and gender studies

Professional Activities

  • Dean’s Advisory Committee on International Initiatives
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Science and Technology in Society
  • Medicine and Society Minor Curriculum Committee
  • Adviser to Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena
  • Senior Fellow at the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, University of Texas Medical Branch


  • Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
  • M.A. University of California, Santa Cruz
  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Best Dissertation in Latino Studies, Latino Studies Section Dissertation Award Committee, Latin American Studies Association, 2010

    Chancellor’s Post-doctoral Fellow, Latina/Latino Studies Program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 2009-2010

    President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowship, University of California Santa Cruz, 2007-2007

    Selected Publications

    Edited Books

    Hester, R.J. (2014) Bodies in Translation: Public Health Promotion in Indigenous Mexican Migrant Communities in California, In: Alvarez, S., de Lima Costa, C., Feliú, F., Klahn, N., Hester, R.J., and Thayer, M. with Cruz C. Bueno, editors, Translocalities/Translocalidades: Feminist Politics of Translation in the Latin/a Américas, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.  


    Hester, R.J. (2015) Cultural Competency Training and Indigenous Cultural Politics in California, Latino Studies Vol. 13, No.3, pp.336-338.

    Hester, R. J. (2012, December). The Promise and Paradox of Cultural Competence. In HEC Forum (Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 279-291).

    Hester, R.J., (2015) Biology as Opportunity: Hybridization from a Molecular Point of View. In: Hurt, S. and Lipschutz, R. eds. Hybrid Rule and State Formation: Public-Private Power in the 21st Century, New York, NY: Routledge.

    Hester, R.J. (2016) Culture in Medicine: An Argument against Competence, Critical Medical Humanities Reader, Edinburgh University Press, In press.

    Sponsored Research

    Mary Moody Northern Endowment, Galveston, TX (Hester, R.J. PI) $2,500.00. “A Qualitative Research Project to Document Community Opinions on Welcoming Central American Refugee Children into the Galveston Community,” 2014.

    National Institutes of Health, Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program, (Hester, R.J. PI) $21,161.27 “Power and Medicine: Exploring Curricular Innovations for Addressing Health Disparities,” 2011-2013.

    Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund (Hester, R.J. PI) $28,000.00. “Hear Our Voice: Capturing the Perspective of St. Vincent’s Patients,” 2011-2011.

    Programa de Investigación en Migración y Salud (PIMSA),University of California Office of the President, California and Mexico, (Hester, R.J., Co-PI with Pat Zavella and Dolores Paris Pombo) $40,000.  “Health Promotion in Indigenous Mexican Communities in Oaxaca and California,” 2006-2008.

    Additional Information

    Dr. Hester’s recent research examines contemporary accounts of “biological danger” and the social, political, and scientific implications of preempting, preventing, and eradicating such danger. Her courses at Virginia Tech include The Foundations of Social Medicine and Monsters, Zombies, and Cyborgs. She is currently developing an education abroad experience focused on health in the Caribbean.