Monir Moniruzzaman

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences


Research Interests

  • Medical Anthropology; Bioethics; Biotechnology; Global Health; Medical Tourism; Embodiment; Bodily Inequality; Human Rights; Activism; International Development; South Asia, Southeast Asia, North America.

Biographical Info

Monir Moniruzzaman (Ph.D. U of Toronto) is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Center for Ethics and Humanities in Life Sciences at Michigan State University. Monir’s research centers on human organ trafficking, focusing on the bioviolence against malnourished bodies of marginalized populations. Based on challenging ethnographic fieldwork, spanning more than a decade, his research examines how organ buyers (both brokers and many recipients) deceived Bangladeshi poor into selling their body parts. In the end, these sellers were only partially paid, and their suffering was extreme. In the post-vending period, sellers’ health, economic, and social conditions significantly deteriorated, yet none of them received the promised post-operative care—not even one appointment. Monir concludes that organ commerce constitutes profound bioviolence against the poor, at the cost of severe suffering to them.

Monir’s research has been recognized within the academic community and broader publics. His articles have been published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly, American Journal of Bioethics, and by the School of American research. He has testified before the US Congress Human Rights Commission and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Prior joining to Michigan State University, Monir served as an Assistant Professor at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh, awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and two doctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto. At present, he is teaching courses, such as, The End of the Body: Biotechnology, Violence, and Ethics; Culture Health and Illness; and Socio-Cultural Diversity at the College of Social Sciences, and Social Context in Clinical Settings at the College of Human Medicine.


Forthcoming, 2015. At the Black Bazaar of Bangladesh: In Search of Kidney Sellers. In Ethical Concerns in Research on Human Trafficking. Dina Siegel and Roos de Wildt Eds. London: Springer.

Forthcoming 2015. Spare Parts for Sale. In Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology, 3rd edition. Peter Brown and Svea Closser Eds. California: Left Coast Press.

2014. Domestic Organ Trafficking: Between Biosecurity and Bioviolence. In Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability. Nancy Chen and Lesley Sharp Eds. pp. 195-215. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research.

2014. Regulated Organ Market: Reality Verses Rhetoric. The American Journal of Bioethics 14(10): 33-35.

2013. Parts and Labor: The Commodification of Human Body. In A Companion to Diaspora and Transnationalism. Ato Quayson and Girish Daswani Eds. pp. 455-472. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

2013. Human Body Parts for Sale in the Neoliberal State. The Journal of Social Studies 137: 1-22.

2012. “Living Cadavers” in Bangladesh: Bioviolence in the Human Organ Bazaar. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(1): 69-91.                                                                                                   Reprint. 2013. New Directions in Critical Marketing Studies. Mark Tadajewski and Robert Cluley Eds. Vol. 4. pp. 335-358. London: Sage.

2010. “The Ripples Changed Our Lives”: Health in Post-Tsunami Thailand. Disaster Prevention and Management 19(3): 333-344.

In the News:

Monir’s research have been widely discussed in the media. About one hundred interviews were published in the ABC, AFP, Atlantic, and Global Post, as well as aired on the BBC, CBC, HBO, and NPR. The recent, but selected ones are:

AFP, October 14, 2015.

BBC TV One, July 30, 2015.

HBO-Vice, May 15, 2015.

Channel NewsAsia Singapore, January 28, 2015.

Al Jazeera, December 26, 2014.

ABC Australia, May 16, 2014.

BBC News, October 27, 2013.

NPR WKAR, April 26, 2013.

Michigan State University President’s Report 2013.

Art Exhibits:

Based on Monir’s research, two art installations (with Camille Turner, Jim Ruxton, and Heather Dewey-Hagborg) were exhibited in Canada.

Spare Parts, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada. October 6-18, 2014.

Rough Cut, Inter/Access Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada. May 25-June 16, 2007.


Photo by Kurt Stepnitz