Jennifer Cullin

Jennifer Cullin

Lecturer, Anthropology


  • Ph.D., Anthropology (Biological Anthropology), Indiana University, Bloomington, 2021
  • M.A., Anthropology (Evolutionary Anthropology), California State University, Fullerton, 2011
  • B.A., Anthropology, California State University, Fullerton, 2004

Geographical Areas of Specialization
United States

Research Interests
Stigma, health disparities, obesity, psychosocial stress, embodiment, biological normalcy, allostatic load, biocultural anthropology, human biology, global health, public health

About Jennifer Cullin

Jennifer M. Cullin is a biological anthropologist and human biologist whose biocultural research program uses the lens of biological normalcy to investigate health disparities arising from social inequalities related to anti-fat bias and fat stigmatization among U.S. youth.

One primary focus of her research program is understanding physiological adaptation to social environments engendering chronic psychosocial stress. Biological Normalcy refers to the ways in which different human societies develop understandings of what a “normal” body is – normal referring to normative ideas about what bodies “should” be as well as statistical distributions of different phenotypic traits, underscoring the ways in which ethno-biocentrism contributes to cultural understandings of human biology and its subsequent impact on human health and well-being. Cullin’s most recent research project used the biological normalcy framework to better understand how body fat is understood in US cultural contexts as well as how these cultural understandings have biological effects contributing to health disparities in adolescents and young adults. The project incorporated surveys, biomarkers, and ethnographic interviews to evaluate fat stigma and health in populations varying by obesity prevalence. One major goal of this project was to assess how perceived fat stigma is related to allostatic load (a measure of physiological wear and tear due to chronic stress) among those with different body types in various epidemiological contexts. This research has been funded by NSF and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and it lends credence to expectations that fat stigma contributes to health disparities beyond simply adiposity itself.