Monir Moniruzzaman

  • Associate Professor


Research Interests

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

Biographical Info

Monir Moniruzzaman (Ph.D. U of Toronto) is a medical anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology 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 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 communities and broader publics. His articles have been published in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Ethos, and by the School of American research. He has been invited to present his research at the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science, US Congress Human Rights Commission, and US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Prior joining to Michigan State University, Monir served as assistant professor at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh, awarded two doctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.

At present, he is serving as a member of the Task Force on Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues at the World Health Organization.


  • 2019. The Trade in Human Liver Lobes: Bioviolence Against Organ Sellers in Bangladesh. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 25(3): 566-586.
  • 2019. "The Heavier Selves:" Embodied and Subjective Suffering of Organ Sellers in Bangladesh. Ethos 47(2): 233-253.
  • 2018. Against a Regulated Market in Human Organs: Ethical Arguments and Ethnographic Insights from the Organ Trade in Bangladesh. Human Organization 77(4): 323-335.
  • 2017. Saving the Starfish: Physicians' Roles in Responding to Human Rights Abuses in Global Health Practice. American Medical Association Journal of Ethics 19(1): 8-15.
  • 2016. (Moniruzzman, M, C Turner, H Dewey-Hagborg, and J Ruxton). Rahim and Robert: Stitched Together in Silence. Studies in Social Justice 10(2): 308-321.
  • 2016. Spare Parts for Sale: Violence, Exploitation, Suffering. In Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology. Peter Brown and Svea Closser eds. Third Edition. pp. 277-285. California: Left Coast Press.
  • 2016. 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. pp. 227-247. New York: Springer.
  • 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 widely been discussed in the media. About one hundred interviews covering his work were aired on BBC, CBC, HBO and NPR, and appeared in ABC, AFP, Al-Jazeera, Atlantic and Salon. The recent but selected ones are:
  • Asia Times, January 22, 2018.
  • Lansing State Journal, February 6, 2017.
  • The Atlantic, June 24, 2016.
  • BBC TV One, July 30, 2015.
  • BBC News, October 27, 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 the following galleries:
  • Spare Parts, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada.  October 6-18, 2015.
  • Rough Cut, Inter/Access Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada. May 25-June 16, 2007.
    Photo by Kurt Stepnitz
    Dept. of Anthropology