Michele Statz

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and BioBehavioral Health

Michele Statz

Contact Info


Office Phone 218-726-7372

Mailing Address:
1035 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and BioBehavioral Health

Affiliate Faculty, UMN Law School

Affiliate Faculty, UMN Human Rights Center

Access to Justice Faculty Scholar, American Bar Foundation / JPB Foundation (2021-22)

PhD, Sociocultural Anthropology, Comparative Law and Society Studies, University of Washington, 2014

MA, Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Washington, 2011

BS, Summa cum Laude, Anthropology, Loyola University Chicago, 2005


I am an anthropologist of law specializing in rural access to justice. My current work examines how socio-spatial dimensions of rurality influence legal advocacy, rights mobilization, and individual and community health in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. This research is generously funded by the National Science Foundation Law and Science program (award #1729117). In addition, I am an affiliate faculty with the Law School

My research stretches the usual bounds of analysis by underscoring rural individuals’ own expertise and experiences of the “rural lawscape.” It likewise identifies necessary opportunities for these perspectives to inform and innovate policy, practice, and applied research methodologies. More information can be found at www.northlandproject.org.

Concurrent work includes collaborative and interdisciplinary projects on global youth and mobility (see www.youthcirculations.com); human rights; rural distance and reproductive justice; and public interest immigration lawyering.

I have a PhD in sociocultural anthropology and comparative law and society studies from the University of Washington. 



I. Books

Statz, Michele. 2018. Lawyering an Uncertain Cause: Immigration Advocacy and Chinese Youth in the U.S. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

II. Peer-reviewed Publications

Statz, Michele. (Forthcoming 2020) “On Shared Suffering: Judicial Intimacy in the Rural Northland.” Law and Society Review.

Heidbrink, Lauren and Michele Statz. (Forthcoming 2020). “Youth Circulations: Tracing the real and imagined circulations of global youth.” Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents: Approaches to Research in a Global Context, MJ Maynes, Deborah Levison, and Frances Vavrus, eds. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Statz, Michele and Lauren Heidbrink. 2019. “A Better ‘Best Interests’: Immigration Policy in a Comparative Context.” Law & Policy. https://doi.org/10.1111/lapo.12135

Statz, Michele and Lisa Pruitt. 2019. “A Spatial Reading of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt: Legal Recognition of the Tyranny of Distance.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X18757508

Lisa R. Pruitt, Amanda L. Kool, Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Michele Statz, Danielle M. Conway, and Hannah Haksgaard. 2018. “Legal Deserts: A Multi-State Perspective on Rural Access to Justice.” 13 Harvard Law and Policy Review 15.

Statz, Michele. 2018. “Transnational Migration and the Construction of Vulnerability.” Routledge Handbook on Ethics and International Relations, Brent Steele and Eric Heinze, eds. New York: Routledge.

Statz, Michele. 2017. “Papers, Performance, and Making Immigration Matter.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. https://polarjournal.org/2017/08/04/review-essay-p...

Heidbrink, Lauren and Michele Statz. 2017. “Parenting Global Youth: Contesting Debt and Belonging.” Children’s Geographies 15(5): 545-557. DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2017.1284645.

Statz, Michele. 2016. “Chinese Difference and Deservingness: The Paper Lives of Young Migrants.” American Behavioral Scientist 60(13): 1629–1648. DOI: 10.1177/0002764216664946.

Statz, Michele. 2016. “Between Children and Transnational Economic Actors: The Discounted ‘Belongings’ of Young Chinese Migrants.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 39 (S1): 4-18. DOI: 10.1111/plar.12168.

Statz, Michele. 2016. Review of The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience. (Catherine Driscoll 2014). Rural Sociology. DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12150.

Statz, Michele. 2015. Review of On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece. (Heath Cabot 2014). Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, February 2015. DOI:10.1111/1469-8676.12096_4.

III. Policy Reports

Bredeson, Jon and Michele Statz. 2019. Not a Legal Issue: A Report on Community Legal Need. https://www.northlandproject.org/assessments-and-r...

Wolf, Jordan and Michele Statz. 2018. Wisconsin Judicare Community Needs Assessmenthttps://www.northlandproject.org/assessments-and-r... IV. Digital Contributions and Media Appearances

IV. Digital Contributions and Media Appearances

Statz, Michele and Jon Bredeson. 2020. The Rural A2J Guide. https://www.northlandproject.org/the-rural-a2j-gui...

Mosedale, Mike. 2019. “Atticus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Rural Minnesota lawyers are facing a succession crisis. Can anything be done?” [Profile of research.] Bench and Bar of Minnesota. 09/2019.

Statz, Michele. 2019. “On the Immigration History Research Center, or: What fuels you?” Youth Circulations, July 15, 2019. http://www.youthcirculations.com/blog/2019/5/16/on...

Zeigler, Catherine. 2019. “Michele Statz, finding balance in America’s heartland”

Anthropology, Actually, January 4, 2019. https://anthropology.washington.edu/news/2019/01/0...

Rea, Mary. 2019. “LASNEM and U of M Medical School Partner on Rural Access to Justice Study.” Legal Services State Support blog, January 14, 2019. http://www.mnlegalservices.org/legal-services-in-t...

Tuten, Kassandra. 2018. “Researchers Conducting Study on Access to Justice in Rural Communities.” Grand Rapids Herald Review December 15, 2018. https://www.grandrapidsmn.com/free_press/researche...

Koons, Jennifer. 2018. “Tear Gas, Children, and ‘Distracted Outrage’: Dissecting the Most Common Response to Children in Distress.” Medium December 5, 2018. [Medium feature profiling my collaborative and applied work.] https://medium.com/@jkoons/tear-gas-children-and-d...

Statz, Michele. 2018. “The pursuit of justice is actually a feeling, and an experience.” Hometown Focus. October 12, 2018. https://www.hometownfocus.us/articles/the-pursuit-...

Statz, Michele and Lauren Heidbrink. 2018. “Migration as Clickbait.” Anthropology News. February 6, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.760.

Statz, Michele. 2017. “Who Didn’t Apply for DACA and Why It Matters.” The Gender Policy Report. http://genderpolicyreport.umn.edu/who-didnt-apply-...

Statz, Michele. 2017. “Local Knowledge, Methods, and Manioc Landraces.” Anthropology News 58: e247-252. DOI: 10.1111/AN.341.

Statz, Michele and Lauren Heidbrink. “Threatening Parents?: What DHS Policies Remind Us About Unaccompanied Youth. Youth Circulations. http://www.youthcirculations.com/blog/2017/7/18/th... 8/7/17.

Statz, Michele and Lauren Heidbrink. “Widening the Frame: Unaccompanied Youth.” 9/15/14. Inaugural blog post for the American Anthropological Association’s Association of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) website. http://www.aaanet.org/sections/acyig/2014/09/15/wi...

Heidbrink, Lauren and Michele Statz. 2014. “Real help for immigrant children.” Letter to the Editor in the LA Times, 6/11/2014. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-le-...

Statz, Michele.Law and Rurality Workshop at AAA 2013 in Chicago,” 1/13/14. Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) homepage. www.apla.org.



Course Director: Social and Biobehavioral Health II

Lecturer: “Access and Intervention in the Northland”

Social and Structural Determinants of Health Content Expert: Neuro and Skin/MSK 

Facilitator: Neuro PBL

Mentoring/advising: undergraduate and graduate students, medical students