Jessica S. Ruthven

Ruthven Editing and Research

My name is Jessica Ruthven, and I’m a professional editor and ethnographic researcher with more than a decade of experience in each.

I earned my Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology in 2014 from the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis. Since then, I’ve worked as an editor, writer, professor, and researcher in both the United States and South Africa. As an academic, my scholarship focuses on medical anthropology, gender studies, public health, and the performing arts. I’ve published my research in highly ranked, peer-reviewed journals and have worked as a peer-reviewer for academic publishing companies such as Taylor & Francis. As a professor, I taught both introductory and advanced courses before transitioning to writing and editing full time.

As an editor, I specialize in developmental editing, writing consultation and mentorship, content research, and substantive line editing. I also copyedit for long-term and repeat clients. My recent clients have included academic professionals, applied researchers, graduate students, members of development programs, non-governmental organizations, and private businesses. The projects have spanned ethnographic monographs, theses, peer-reviewed journal articles, research protocols, IRB materials, chapters from edited volumes, and blog articles.

In my editing practice, I draw on my expertise to catch things you may have missed. I help clients hone their writing through increasing clarity of ideas and decreasing errors in grammar, syntax, and spelling. In my developmental work, I help writers at a conceptual level, which includes planning, developing, and revising your manuscript and offering suggestions around how to focus or organize your text. I also tailor writing to specific style conventions and provide a critical overview to give you confidence in your final product. For writers who need extra help with content, I perform and compile background research for upcoming writing projects.

Ultimately, I have two goals. I provide a professional and easy-to-use service that will strengthen your writing and garner positive attention from publishers and the audiences you target. Equally important, I take the routine work of editing off your plate, so you have time to focus on what you do best⏤creating content to share with the world.

Specialty Areas Academic and Non-Fiction: Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Social Sciences, Humanities, Public Health, Medicine, Healthcare, Performing Arts, History, Politics, International Affairs, Interdisciplinary Studies, Performance Studies, Theatre, Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, Public Policy, Media Studies

Speciality Areas Fiction: Literature, Urban Fiction, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

Styles: CMOS, APA, AP, MLA

Testimonial Examples: “Never could have gotten my article through peer review without her! Jessica’s close reading, perceptive structural suggestions, respectful support, and spot-on writing changes made the difference when I revised and resubmitted to the journal.” — Assistant Professor, Sociocultural Anthropology, Montana State University

“Jessica provided the most comprehensive and useful writing feedback I’ve received in my entire career. Her developmental help with my ethnographic manuscript was invaluable–from her comments on structure to her assistance with solidifying and clarifying my main arguments and the data I used to support them. Highly recommended.” —Researcher and Department Coordinator, Mental Health Association, Paris, France

When I’m not editing, you’ll likely find me engaged in my other passions: cycling, painting and block printing, dancing, and writing fiction. I split my time between Oxford, Mississippi (United States) and Johannesburg, Gauteng (South Africa), but I work with clients across the globe.

Oxford, MS

Years in the field: 13
Years freelancing: 5


Jessica Ruthven