Professor Review: Dr. Emma Varley

Dr. Emma Varley is Associate Professor of Anthropology, specialising in Socio-Cultural, at Brandon University adjunct department of Anthropology and Archeology. She is the receiver of the 2016 Brandon University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, among countless other recognitions. She is currently a Senior Associate at WISE Development and Co-Chair at the Canadian Medical Anthropology Network. Dr Varley’s research interests include Critical Medical Anthropology and Global Public Health, Violenceand Conflict, Islam and Northern Pakistan, International Development, Disaster andHumanitarian Studies; Neoliberalism, Corruption and the State, Magic and the Occult, Participatory Ethnographic Research Methods and Evaluation; among others.

I have been a student of Dr. Varley’s since 2017 and by far not only is she the most enthusiastic, kind, and gentle professor I have met at my time at BU, but also one of the few teachers on campus who use their academic credentials, expertise, and experience as activism and advocacy. Emma has for the last two decades dedicated her time to numerous humanitarian causes, primarily in Pakistan and Canada, and contributed her voice tirelessly to helping mothers and women in her community. In her Applied Anthropology class we are currently learning research methods and theories needed to use the academic field of anthropology and other social sciences through a praxis approach to solve real world problems through advocacy. An example of this would be Emma’s comprehensive research in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Northern Pakistan which she has used to advocate for maternal health in the region. Her class Anthropology of Medical Systems goes into detailed discourse regarding the human history of these medical systems that many times define peoples and communities lives.

Dr. Varley is the mother of three wonderful kids and a cat, wife to Wudood, daughter to Deborah and friend and confidante to many, and even many more. Emma is fluent in English and Urdu, likes to watch Netflix drama shows, and helped me through surviving school and acing my courses when I was going through a rather difficult time. Brandon University is very lucky to have a brilliant person like Dr. Varley among us, and we hope to have for many more long years.