Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Mary K. Anglin


This dissertation is based on an ethnographic study of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and the racial, cultural and political considerations that shape the meaning of diagnosis for Alaska Native individuals and families in Anchorage, Alaska. During the period from August 6, 2010 to through August 5, 2011, I worked with foster families and extended natural families living with and supporting individuals diagnosed with FASD. Documenting the experiences of families in their interactions with clinical, state, tribal and non-profit institutions, I sought to understand how a diagnosis of FASD structures opportunities, outcomes and everyday life experiences across several critical life domains, including health, education, employment, kinship and identity. Family narratives and experiences are highlighted to illustrate the ways in which difference is reproduced in everyday public understanding and clinical practice.