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Heidi L. Bludau, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Applied Anthropology

Career Advising Mentor

Summer Scholars Faculty Coordinator

Scholarly interests: Medical anthropology; Business anthropology; Globalization; Migration; Identity

Photo of Heidi Bludau

Ph.D., Indiana University

MEd, Texas A&M University

B.A., Texas A&M University

James and Marlene Howard Hall 334
Regularly Taught Courses
Cultural Anthropology
Culture, Health and Illness
Ethnographic Methods
Applied Anthropology
Food and Culture
Life's a Beach

Dr. Heidi Bludau is a lecturer in Applied Anthropology. She is a cultural anthropologists with interests in medical anthropology, business anthropology, globalization and organizational culture. 

Research Interests

Dr. Bludau's research program centers on the professional identity of healthcare workers, primarily nurses.  The project that served as the basis of her dissertation was an examination of global healthcare migration through the recruitment and migration of Czech nurses; Saudi Arabia is their primary destination site. She uses a critical and applied approach to medical anthropology in order to examine the Czech and Saudi national healthcare systems and policies in relation to individual motivations for migration. A key element is the position of healthcare labor recruiters as a node in the migration chain.  A large part of her research consisted of an organizational analysis of a Czech recruitment firm in which she was embedded for almost a year.

Most recently, Dr. Bludau, along with colleagues in the Department of Nursing, have completed an interdisciplinary project analyzing nursing education programs to determine crucial elements of socialization and professional identity development.  This pilot study aimed to explore the different stages of professional identity formation, through the professional socialization, and development of emotional intelligence and power that take place during BSN Education. The research team consider professional socialization, emotional intelligence and power to be pillars of professional identity development.  A goal of this study is to help alleviate national and global problems of meeting nursing shortages.

Dr. Bludau is currently working on a project with Fulfill (formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties) regarding food insecurity of veterans in the area.

Dr. Bludau considers herself a cultural anthropologist with specializations in medical and applied anthropology. Her theoretical and geographical interests include globalization and Europe, respectively.

Scholarly Articles

2017. H. Bludau. “Hindered Care:Institutional Obstructions to Carework and Professionalism in CzechNursing.” Anthropology of Work Review 38 (1):8-17. doi: 10.1111/awr.12108.

2015  H. Bludau. “Creating a Transnational Labor Chain between Eastern Europe and the Middle East: A case study in healthcare.” InterDisciplines 6(1):95-120.

2014. H. Bludau.  The Power of Protocol: Professional identity development and governmentality in post-socialist healthcare. Special issue, “Health and Medicine: Post-socialist perspectives,” Czech Sociological Review 50(6):875-896.

2011. H. Bludau. Producing Transnational Nurses: Agency and Subjectivity in Global Health Care Labor Migration Recruitment Practices. Special issue, “Health and Care Work in Postsocialist Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union,” Anthropology of East Europe Review. 29(1):94-108.

2013. H. Bludau and P. Ezzeddine. Seeing Gender in Migration: An Introduction. Special issue,“Gender and Family in Migration,” Lidé Města/Urban People. 15(2):179-184. *special co-edited by Petra Ezzeddine and Heidi Bludau


“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer…Can I have an Extension, Please?” posted Dec 22, 2015,  General Anthropology Division (American Anthropological Association) – Teaching Anthropology Blog

Presentations/Invited Talks

Book Discussion: “Caring for a Living: Migrant Women, Aging Citizens, and Italian Families,” discussant with the author, Francesca Deguili. Sponsored by the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies (New York University), December 9, 2016.

“Gendering Mobility: Migration of nurses as a nexus of transnational gender and labor ideals.”  American Anthropological Association 115th Annual Meeting, November 20, 2016, Minneapolis, MN.

“Gender Shocked: How migrant nurses renegotiate ideas of gender abroad.” Society for Medical Anthropology Annual Meeting, March 30, 2016, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

“Hindered Care: Institutional obstructions to carework and professionalism in Czech nursing.” American Anthropological Association 114th Annual Meeting, November 19, 2015, Washington, DC.

“The Value of Nursing.” Society for Applied Anthropology 75th Annual Meeting, March 21, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA.

“Challenging Perspectives in Post-socialist Healthcare Migration: A Case Study of Czech Healthcare Professionals.” Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies annual convention, November 21, 2014, San Antonio, TX.

“Encounters from the Edge of Nursing:  An exploration of Czech nurses as ‘global nurses.’” Joint international conference of  the Society for Medical Anthropology, the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Medical Anthropology Network, and the Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, June 13, 2013, Tarragona, Spain.

“The Power of Protocol: An evaluation of Czech healthcare from the perspective of return migrant nurses.” 3rd Annual Health in Transition Conference, June 8, 2013, Warsaw, Poland.

“From the Golden City to the Golden Cage: How recruiters re/create a transnational labor market between Eastern Europe and the Middle East.” Work in a Globalising World, 5th Annual Seminar of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, April 9, 2013, Bielefeld, Germany.

“The Culture of Disrespect in (Post)Socialist Healthcare from the Perspective of Czech Nurses.” American Anthropological Association 111th Annual Meeting, November 16, 2012, San Francisco, CA.

“Producing Transnational Nurses: Agency and subjectivity in global health care labour migration recruitment practices.” Paper Presentation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung conference on Transnational Care Practices and Globalization of Life Cycle, October 15, 2010, Prague, Czech Republic.

“Recruiting Agencies:  The Role of Recruitment Firms in Czech Healthcare Worker Migration.” 102nd Gellner Seminar, sponsored by the Masaryk Czech Sociological Society and the Czech Association for Social Anthropology, October 22, 2009, Prague, Czech Republic.

Professional Associations

Membership and Public Relations Chair, Society for the Anthropology of Europe (2015-2017)

Convener, Soyuz (Post-Communist Cultural Studies Interest Group) (2013-2015)

Additional Information