Jessica Polzer, PhD

Jessica Polzer

Associate Professor

Room 3237, Lawson Hall
519 661-2111 x81576


  • MSc, PhD (Toronto)
  • BA (Queen's)

Academic Appointments

  • Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research

Supervising Graduate Students

  • Yes

Research Interests

  • Sociology of health and illness
  • Social theories of health, risk and the body
  • Experiences of health and risks to health
  • Social and ethical impacts of technologies in health
  • Biotechnology, gender and medicalization
  • Critical theories of health promotion
  • Foucault, biopolitics and governmentality

Additional Information

Recent Publications

  • Polzer J, Mancuso FV & Laliberte Rudman D. (2014). Risk, responsibility, resistance: Young women’s negotiations of identity and healthy citizenship in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination narratives. Narrative Inquiry, 24(2), 281-308.
  • Mancuso F & Polzer J. (2015). “It’s your body but…”: Young women’s narratives of declining human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Canadian Woman Studies: an Introductory Reader (3rd Ed.). Edited by Brenda Cranney and Sheila Mollory. Toronto: Inanna Press.

Research Affiliations

  • Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto
  • Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Teaching Areas

  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Women and Health
  • Biopolitics, Feminism and Health
  • Qualitative Health Research
  • Critical Social Science Perspectives in Health Promotion


  • Illinois Distinguished Qualitative Dissertation Award, International Center for Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2006)