Amelia Herbert Awarded 2017 Fulbright Fellowship | Anthropology and Education | International & Transcultural StudiesSkip to content Skip to main navigation
Amelia Simone Herbert has been awarded a 2017 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Abroad Fellowship by the US Department of Education for her project “A Ticket to Life?: Schooling, Mobility, and Transformation in a No-Fee Independent Township High School”. The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship provides grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students who conduct research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
As a Fulbright-Hays Fellow, Amelia will conduct 12-months of ethnographic research at a peri-urban high school in Cape Town, South Africa. Through participant observation, interviewing, and focus groups she seeks to understand how students, families, alumni, and school staff perceive the role of schooling in achieving individual mobility and social transformation in the “new” South Africa. In South Africa, education is cited as both driver and potential solution for disparities consistently ranked among the starkest in the world. Post-apartheid reforms have birthed a controversial sector of nonstate and public-private schooling providers that serve low-income families and claim to interrupt entrenched “cycles of poverty” by producing upwardly mobile subjects who will act as change agents in their communities. Through in-depth ethnography, Amelia will explore how participants take up these claims in a no-fee independent high school that serves Cape Town’s oldest township community.
Gaps in higher education access in South Africa have received international attention due to ongoing protests, but Amelia’s study aims to investigate important dynamics of secondary education that help produce this widely publicized asymmetry. By focusing on the experiences of youth and families that navigate uneven schooling landscapes in a post-apartheid city, she hopes to foreground important perspectives that are often missing from academic literature.