Sarah B Horton

Sarah Horton
Ph.D. • Interim Chair for Spring 2024, Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology

Mailing Address:
Department of Anthropology
Campus Box 103
PO Box 173364 
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Office Hours:
By appointment

Sarah Horton is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Denver. Her areas of expertise include Latino health disparities, migration and transnationalism, migrants’ access to care, cross-border health, and farmworkers’ occupational health. She received her PhD in Anthropology with Distinction from the University of New Mexico in 2003 and did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard University from 2003 until 2005. She was research faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, from 2005 until 2007, where she served as lead ethnographer on an NIH-funded study of oral health disparities among Mexican American farmworker children. Dr. Horton has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, American Anthropologist, and American Ethnologist, and was awarded the Steven J. Polgar Prize for the best article published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly by the Society for Medical Anthropology in 2011.

Her research has been funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States. Her bookt, “They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields:” Illness, Injury, and “Illegality” in California’s Central Valley, was published by the University of California Press in 2016. Based on a decade of fieldwork, the book examines the way immigration control policy, combined with a higher burden of chronic disease among farmworkers, contributes to heat deaths in California’s fields. For more information, see:

2003-5 - NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard University

2003 - Ph.D., Anthropology, University of New Mexico, with Distinction

1996 - M.A., Anthropology, Columbia University

1992 - B.A., Literature & Society, Brown University (Magna cum laude, Honors, Phi Beta Kappa)

2016, They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields: Illness, Injury, and "Illegality" among U.S. Farmworkers. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

2016, “Ghost Workers: The Implications of Governing Immigration through Crime for Migrant Workplaces.” Anthropology of Work Review 37(1): 9-21.

2015, “Identity Loan: The Moral Economy of Migrant Document Exchange in California’s Central Valley.” American Ethnologist 42(1). 55-67.

2014, “Debating ‘Medical Citizenship:’ Policies Shaping Undocumented Immigrants’ Learned Avoidance of the Health Care System,” pp. 297-320 in Hidden Lives and Human Rights in the United States: Understanding the Controversies and Tragedies in Undocumented Immigration, Lois A. Lorentzen, ed. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO/Praeger.

2014, “Critical Anthropology of Global Health ‘Takes a Stand’ Statement: A Critical Medical Anthropological Approach to the US’ Affordable Care Act.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 28(1):1-22.First author, with Cesar Abadia, Jessica Mulligan, and Jennifer Jo Thompson.

2013, “Medical Returns as Class Transformation: Situating Mexican Migrants’ Medical Returns within a Framework of Transnationalism.” Medical Anthropology 32(5):417-32.

2012, “Reasons for Self-Medication and Perceptions of Risk among Mexican American Farmworkers.” First author, with Analisia Stewart. Journal of Immigrant Health. 14(4):664-72.

2011, “Medical Returns: Seeking Health Care in Mexico.” First author, with Stephanie Cole. Social Science & Medicine 72(11): 1846-1852.

2010, “Stigmatized Biologies: Examining the Cumulative Effects of Oral Health Disparities for Mexican American Children.” First author, with Judith C. Barker.  Medical Anthropology Quarterly 24(2): 199-219.

2009, “Stains on Their Self-Discipline: Public Health, Hygiene, and the Disciplining of Undocumented Immigrant Parents in the Nation’s Internal Borderlands.” American Ethnologist 36(4): 784-98. First author, with Judith C. Barker.

2009, “A Mother’s Heart is Weighed Down with Stones: A Phenomenological Approach to the Experience of Transnational Motherhood.” Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry. 33(1): 21-40.

2006, “The Double Burden on Safety Net Providers: Placing Health Disparities in the Context of the Privatization of U.S. Health Care.” Social Science & Medicine 63(10): 2702-2714.

2004, “Different Subjects: The Health Care System’s Participation in the Differential Construction of the Cultural Citizenship of Cuban Refugees and Mexican Immigrants.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(4): 472-489.

2001, “Transforming the Safety Net: Responses to Medicaid managed care in Rural and Urban New Mexico. “ American Anthropologist 101(3): 733-746.  First author, with Joanne McCloskey, Caroline Todd, and Marta Henriksen.


2010, The Santa Fe Fiesta, Reinvented: Staking Claims to a Disappearing Homeland. School for Advanced Research Press. Santa Fe, NM.

Anthropology of Globalization

Migrant Health

Current Ethnographic Traditions

Globalization, Migration & Transnationalism

Culture and the Human Experience