College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Cortney Hughes Rinker, PhD


PhD, Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

Key Interests
End-of-Life Care | Death | Pain Management | Chronic and Terminal Illness | Policy | Science and Technology | Reproduction | Islam | Morocco | United States

Research Focus

I am a sociocultural anthropologist and conduct ethnographic research in Morocco and the United States. My research interests are grounded in medical anthropology, but extend to public health, religious studies, Middle Eastern studies, and science and technology studies. I have a special focus on the relationship between Islam and biomedicine, but my more general interests are in how faith intersects with health care and how the use of technology impacts daily life and the ways we understand the world.

Current Projects

■ My current project focuses on pain management during illness and end-of-life care in Morocco. I explore how pain and suffering intersect with a sense of self and personhood, analyze the use of pain medication, (particularly opioids), within the political and economic context of Morocco, and investigate the politicization of palliative care.

■ My second book (Routledge, 2021) examines the diverse experiences of Muslim patients and families in the D.C. area as they interact with the health care system during end-of-life care. I transform “actively dying” into theoretical concept to frame the dying body as a site through which religiosity and religious identities are (trans)formed or contested and use the deteriorating and dead body as the basis to explore religious beliefs and identities.

Select Publications

Rinker, C. H. (2021). Actively dying: The creation of Muslim identities through end-of-life care in the United States. Routledge.

Rinker, C. H. (2020). Future trajectories of death: Issues and possibilities. In The Routledge history of death since 1800 (pp. 517-533). Routledge.

Rinker, C. H. (2020). Problematizing neoliberalism and development: Creating citizens (and future citizens) through reproduction and childrearing in Morocco. Hespéris-Tamuda, 55(4), 151-172.


Horizon Hall, 4475 Aquia Creek Lane, Fairfax, VA 22030