Recent Student Publications and Awards

Recent Student Publications and Awards


The Semi-Conductor Radio Made in Shanghai

Read "The Semi-Conductor Radio Made in Shanghai" published in Anthropology News, by Skylar Hou, current Ph.D. student.


People, Policy, and Praxis: Freirean Pedagogy and Local-Level Policy Implementation

Read "People, Policy, and Praxis: Freirean Pedagogy and Local-Level Policy Implementation" published in the Current Issues in Comparative Education (CICE) journal, by Elena Peeples, current Ph.D. student.


An esthetic theory of the subversive sublime of Ital cuisine, Food, Culture & Society

Read "An esthetic theory of the subversive sublime of Ital cuisine" published in the Food, Culture and Society Journal, this August 2021, by Maria Noland, current Ph.D. student.


From the Epicenter, At the Apex: A dispatch about birth and COVID‐19 from New York City

Read "From the Epicenter, At the Apex: A dispatch about birth and COVID-19 from New York City" published in the City and Society Journal, this month, by Sarah Vázquez-Xu, current Ph.D. student.


Biopower, mediascapes, and the politics of fear in the age of COVID‐19

Read "Biopower, mediascapes, and the politics of fear in the age of COVID‐19," published in the City and Society Journal, this month, by Noël Um, current Ph.D. student.


Alone Together or Online Together? Pandemic Insights

Read the opinion piece, "Along together or Online Together" written in Anthropology News just this month as she discusses insights during this pandemic, by Sara O. Ahmed, current Ph.D. student. 


Chapter 8: Between Local and Global Citizenship in Egypt in the book, The Struggle for Citizenship Education in Egypt

This chapter explores the implications of global citizenship education in Egypt from the perspective of a small, international primary school in Alexandria. A qualitative study was conducted with parents to examine their perspectives on notions of global citizenship and “local” citizenship in relation to the international schooling of their children. Although global citizenship education is a pertinent contemporary priority—as emphasized by the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goal 4.7.—historical implications to global citizenship are considered. To explore tensions and potential challenges to global citizenship, the author explores the notions of “the clash of civilizations” as well as the “love–hate” relationship between the “Muslim East” and the “West.” Additionally, the author further explores the benefits of a multicultural upbringing and “third-culture kids” (Pollock, 2017).


Read further on the chapter, "Between Local and Global Citizenship in Egypt," by Sara O. Ahmed.


Critical pedagogy in the United States: possibilities for considering critical and popular educational practice (A pedagogia crítica nos Estados Unidos: possibilidades para pensar a prática educativa crítica e popular)

In this chapter, Dias discusses critical pedagogy through the lens of Freirean tradition, as educational theory and practice, in the educational field in the United States. She seeks to present what she considers as the main political aspects of critical pedagogy as it has been developing in the country, demonstrating the importance of Freire's work for progressive and critical education. At the same time, the chapter explores some questionings that critical pedagogy and Freire's work have received in the US context over time. Dias (2019) discusses how critical and popular educators may learn and build up their educational praxis from both debates. 


Dias, F. V. 2019. A pedagogia crítica nos Estados Unidos: possibilidades para pensar a prática educativa crítica e popular (Critical pedagogy in the United States: possibilities for considering critical and popular educational practice). In Peres, Selma Martines and Alves, Maria Zenaide (eds.). Educação Popular e Letramentos. 1. ed. Jundiaí, SP: Paco, p. 19-42. Print (book) and E-book 


Jordanian Female Teachers Activism in the Latest Teachers Successful Strike

In this article, Al-Khoshman looks into the dynamics of the female teachers' activism in the latest Jordanian teachers strike, which ended successfully early October. Drawing on the teachers' testimonies, she highlights the strategies and the repertoire the teachers employed and their relevance to the social and feminist movements discourses worldwide. The article highlights the teachers' perspective on state's aggressions against them and how teachers viewed it as a hegemonic and patriarchal apparatus. 


Read the entire article, "Jordanian Female Teachers Activism in the Latest Teachers Successful Strike," by Afaf A. Al-Khoshman, current PhD student.


Getting In and Getting Through: Navigating Higher Education in Jordan

In this article, Al-Khoshman and her colleagues analyze data from a project conducted in Yarmouk University, north of Jordan, where they explore ways in which university students negotiate the changing higher education demands and maximize their benefits from the system.  While they embrace the neoliberal subject position of self-reliance and personal responsibility, university students -as the study shows- also work tirelessly to circumvent and negotiate a system that limits their educational and professional aspirations.

Read the entire article, "Getting In and Getting Through: Navigating Higher Education in Jordan" co-authored by Afaf A. Al-Khoshman, current PhD student, with Fida Adely, Angela Haddad, and Abdel Hakim Al-Husban.

Privacy protection as a core human rights issue for women in Jordan

Last May, an anonymous group of Jordanian activists publicly issued what they titled “The Privacy Statement”. This statement primarily called for civil society and public support for a legal framework that would protect the privacy of all members of society, especially women. The statement was issued in the backdrop of a leaked recording that allegedly revealed a powerful official in the Jordan Royal Guard blackmailing and sexually assaulting a woman. The leak and subsequent discussions have illuminated the vulnerability of women in Jordanian society, and the resonance of the case is a testament to the prevalence of this issue. The female victim—despite being blackmailed and repeatedly threatened—was surprisingly regarded as the main offender since women are not supposed to talk to unfamiliar men in the first place, although in the case of this particular woman the details were not fully revealed and the public based their opinions—widely expressed on social media platforms—on conjecture and assumption. The activists’ statement, which calls for legal repercussions in similar instances of breached privacy and public disclosure, was circulated in the name of Jordanian men and women concerned with the lack of privacy protections in Jordanian society and the harsh reality of women’s victimhood. 


In this Article, Al-Khoshman discuses how a case of a breach of privacy calls for engagement with the priorities and discourses of women's activism in Jordan. 


Read the entire article, Privacy protection as a core human rights issue for women in Jordan, by Afaf A. Al-Khoshman, current PhD student.


How Teachers Can Use Anthropology in Classrooms

From her experience as a teacher in Jordan, her home country, Al-Khoshman has come to see how education can bring out the strength that young people have within them. As a teacher in a small Jordanian town and later in the capital, Amman, she taught students from a variety of backgrounds—among them rural and town-settled Bedouin, Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqis. She saw the need for education to make students feel confident and capable, whatever their background. To achieve this, ideas taken from the social sciences in general, and from anthropology in particular, can be useful.


Read the entire article, "How Teachers Can Use Anthropology in Classrooms" by Afaf A. Al-Khoshman, current PhD student. 


When kind of citizen? Temporally displaced citizenship education in a Chilean private school

In Chile, some elite private schools have developed a particular approach towards citizenship education, acknowledging the privileged social position their students occupy, while inviting them to disrupt the same social structure that has produced this privilege. However, the enduring salience of Chilean society's inequalities begs the question of how effective this approach truly is. This paper attempts to answer this, examining a Chilean private school and a particular service-learning activity. Through ethnographic methods and an analysis rooted in cultural production theory, the paper argues that, although many of its components are still quite problematic, service-learning activities like this one do provide opportunities for promoting participatory and social justice citizenship education, through the students' engagement in “collective deliberations.” However, these opportunities are neutralized when framed within a particular cultural fact – here called the Discourse of the Leaders – which displaces the enactment of students' citizenship into a future that still does not exist. The article provides a more nuanced understanding of the different ways inequitable social structures of privilege are dealt with in elite educational institutions that explicitly purport to challenge them. It also offers new avenues for educators to contribute to citizenship education practices that can more effectively promote social change.


Caste in a Tamil Family: On Purity and Pollution in Post-war Jaffna

Written using the voice of Zehra Hashmi, an ethnographic narrative examines caste in transition in Jaffna, centred around a Vel.l.ā family that lived in the peninsula throughout the duration of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which came to an end in May 2009. Based on field research and interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013, the authors find that interlocutors struggle to make meaning of post-war changes.

Read "Caste in a Tamil Family: On Purity and Pollution in Post-war Jaffna" by Zehra Hashmi and Prashanth Kuganathan (current PhD student).


‘What can one do against democracy?’ The co-construction and destruction of ‘Student Democracy’ in a Chilean public high school (Mayorga, 2017)

This article examines how the actors of a Chilean public high school navigated the political scenario produced when its students decided to occupy their school to protest a national Educational Reform. Using ethnographic data and interviews with high school students, it proposes to understand this process in the context of a figured world directly linked with youth activism and student contentious politics: that of ‘Student Democracy’. The article argues that this figured world is constantly being produced by students, teachers and parents engaging in contentious local practices and that, in doing so, they create new opportunities for political action and citizenship education within school settings. It also argues that, by engaging with this figured world, students are participating in both ‘Student Democracy’ and the broader societal democracy, learning to be citizens in the present, and to deal with the possibilities, risks, and responsibilities that democratic participation always entails.


Read ‘What can one do against democracy?’ The co-construction and destruction of ‘Student Democracy’ in a Chilean public high school by Rodrigo Mayorga, current PhD student. 


This paper examines how a transnational orientation shapes Dominican mothers’ contradictory attitudes towards education in New York City. Through this ethnographic study, which draws on 36 interviews, community walkabouts, and participant observations in community-led adult education classes, we show how Dominican mothers struggle with conflicting values; on the one hand, they embrace the idea of schooling for individual advancement, integration in the US, and critical thinking, while on the other hand, they regret the diminution of a collective, family orientation and respect for parents. Overall, this study shows that contradictions are not a sign of confusion or denial, but rather a struggle to transform cultural practices that satisfy multiple worlds. A deeper understanding of these contradictions could help educators and educational institutions consider how these transnational tensions motivate parent engagement and their hopes for their children’s education.

Read "Negotiating contradictions: educación among Dominican transnational mothers in New York City" by Aldo Anzures Tapia, Rodrigo Mayorga (current PhD student), Gabrielle Oliveira, Lesley Bartlett, Chelsea Kallery, Cynthia N. Carvajal, and Victoria Martínez-Martínez.


Sarah French Brennan explores the many tribulations minority asylum seekers face, and the narrow patterns and behaviors they must conform to in order to be granted safety.

Read "Specter of the Fraud: Muslim Sexual Minorities and Asylum in the Netherlands" by Sarah French Brennan, current PhD student.


Audrey Le explores how people negotiate commitments to engaging in joint activity while at the same time anticipating and managing the inherent risks of collaboration.

Read "'There's no rules. It's hackathon.': Negotiating Commitment in a Context of Volatile Sociality" by Graham M. Jones, Beth Semel, and Audrey Le, current TC PhD student.



Jones, G. M., Semel, B. and Le, A. (2015), “There's no rules. It's hackathon.”: Negotiating Commitment in a Context of Volatile Sociality. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 25: 322–345. doi:10.1111/jola.12104


Corinne Kentor receives the 2021 - 2022 Education Policy Dissertation Fellowship Award!

Corinne Kentor, current Ph.D. student, received the Education Policy Dissertation Fellowship Award for the 2021 - 2022 academic year. To read more about this grant, you can visit here. Congratulations Corinne!


Sara Ahmed receives CICW Grant for Fall 2020!

Sara Ahmed, current Ph.D. student, received the Center for Islam in the Contemporary World (CICW) grant for Fall 2020. To read more about this grant, you can view their website here. Congratulations Sara!


Afaf Alkashman receives 2019 CIES Middle East SIG Student Paper Award for her paper entitled: Marginal Effects: A Study of Localized Global Education in Jordan

The paper provides an outlook at the overarching effects of these models and their implications on the country’s cultural and ideological identity as well as their inclusiveness and impact in the ‘margins’ of the state.  Based on anthropological conceptualizations of the state and its margins, the paper argues that in the case of Jordan the rationale of and the content embedded in these programs produce an inorganically imposed cultural and religious identity and struggle over the identification with the tenets of global education, especially on the margins. 



Congratulations, Afaf!


Andrew Wortham receives the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship for 2019 - 2020

Andrew Wortham was fortunately granted the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund as part of the generous work of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.  The Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship provides academic year support to advanced doctoral students in East Asian studies who are completing coursework, pursuing dissertation research, or at the dissertation write-up stage. Priority is given to students whose research focuses on Southeast Asia and on regional or cross-national issues in East Asia.  Andrew will be using the funds to do his doctoral dissertation research in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan on the creation of LGBT communities surrounding HIV/AIDS organizations. 


Michelle Zhang receives the Weatherhead Institute's C. Martin Wilbur Fellowship for 2019 - 2020

The C. Martin Wilbur Fellowship supports dissertation research and writing for advanced doctoral students in a social science department or East Asian history, and who have a research focus on modern China. This fellowship will help support tuition, health insurance, and stipend for the upcoming year. 

Rodrigo Mayorga receives EPSA's Policy Dissertation Research Fellowship

Description of Fellowship: The Education Policy Dissertation Research Fellowship is open to matriculated TC doctoral students, in ALLTC departments and programs, whose dissertation research has the potential to inform societal efforts to improve educational opportunity, achievement, or equity.  This research should be focused on an important policy issue at any level of government, reflect potential for policy utility, and show a strong likelihood of being accepted in the most well-respected journals. Our view of policy relevance is a broad one, encompassing research that affects policy indirectly by shifting public understanding of societal challenges and opportunities for effective intervention.


Rodrigo's project is his dissertation reserach about citizenship in Chile. He is the first Anthropology student to receive this fellowship.

Congratulations Rodrigo!


A. Kayum Ahmed awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

A. Kayum Ahmed was recently named as a 2018 recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer (NAEd/Spencer) Dissertation Fellowship. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers engaged in scholarship related to education by supporting individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world.
As a NAEd/Spencer Fellow, Kayum will examine the intersections between social movements, decolonial theory and public pedagogy, drawing on the #RhodesMustFall student movements at the universities of Cape Town and Oxford as case studies. Kayum’s Ph.D. research on radical student movements stems from his commitment to social justice activism. Following his involvement in anti-white supremacist protests at Columbia where he faced disciplinary action, Kayum was placed on a right-wing watchlist for advancing "leftist propaganda in the classroom." He is currently supporting the formation of a Graduate Workers Union as well as Teachers College students involved in a campaign to decolonize the university, starting with the Thorndike building which is named after a prominent eugenicist, misogynist and racist, Edward L. Thorndike.
In addition to working on his Ph.D., Kayum teaches classes on socio-economic rights, as well as African law, literature and politics as an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia, Kayum served as Chief Executive Officer of the South African Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2015. During his term at the Commission, he led a team of 178 colleagues to monitor, protect and promote human rights in South Africa, and oversaw the management of nearly 45,000 human rights cases. 
He holds various degrees in law from the University of Oxford (MS.t), Leiden University (LL.M.), and the University of Cape Town (LL.B.), as well as degrees in anthropology (M.A.) and theology (B.A. Hons.). 
You can read more about Kayum and his research here
Congratulations Kayum!

Rodrigo Mayorga was named a 2018 Graduate Fellow of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity at the Earth Institute, Columbia University

Rodrigo Mayorga was named a 2018 Graduate Fellow of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. This program provides its fellows with the possibility of conducting research projects linked with social change, conflict resolution, development, and sustainable peace, all around the world. 

Rodrigo's research explores how high school students have become relevant actors in the Chilean political scene during the the last decade, demanding the eradication of the neoliberal pillars sustaining the educational system since the 1980s, more inclusive schools and non-sexist education. It also examines how this context of student protests has affected the traditional citizenship education provided by the State, and produced several new informal citizenship education practices, both inside and outside the space of the school. This project hopes to understand the ways in which citizenship education within and outside the school come together in an assemblage that informs the experience of being a student and a citizen in contexts of social violence, protest and turmoil, like that of contemporary Chile, and how, in the process of engaging with this assemblage of practices, students can strive for social change. With his research, Rodrigo also expects to illuminate how educators and researchers can recognize the different citizenship education practices students engage with when trying to build a more peaceful and democratic society and, more important, how they can engage productively with these youths as transformative social actors.

The Programs in Anthropology would like to congratulate Rodrigo on this achievement! 


Corinne Kentor named a 2018 Graduate Research Fellow by the National Science Foundation

Corinne Kentor was named a 2018 Graduate Research Fellow by the National Science Foundation. The fellowship recognizes the achievements of U.S. based graduate students who demonstrate the capacity to make significant contributions to research, teaching, and innovation within various scientific fields. NSF Fellows are awarded a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with additional funds allocated toward the cost of tuition and fees at the affiliate university. In addition, the program provides fellows with the opportunity to join a diverse professional community and to pursue international research projects as they complete their doctoral degrees. 
As an NSF Fellow, Corinne will conduct interdisciplinary ethnographic research focused on the relationship between contemporary immigration theory and instances of "public parenthood." Specifically, her research will examine the development of political consciousness among undocumented Latinx parents whose children are enrolled in U.S. public schools. This investigation will be based primarily in school districts in southern California, where parents have demonstrated substantial influence over the development and implementation of politicized language curricula. 
The roots of anti-immigrant and anti-Latinx discourse have been well documented by researchers in anthropology, sociology, and political science, but the public nature of parenthood offers new opportunities for critical engagement within the field. Corinne's research aims to reconfigure the image of the "impoverished illegal," investigating how immigrant parents leverage their language, culture, and community as a means of advocating for their children. This approach contributes to evolving notions of how "progress" is promulgated at different levels, highlighting the relationship between school-based assemblages and political change. As an NSF fellow, Corinne hopes to push the boundaries of the "neighborhood ethnography" as a means of investigating how families help to produce and enforce civic reform, singling out schools as an especially important site of public engagement. 
The Programs in Anthropology would like to congratulate Corinne on this achievement! 

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 communitiesThrough in-depth ethnography, Amelia will explore how participants take up these claims in a no-fee independent high school that serves Cape Towns oldest township community. 

Gaps in higher education access in South Africa have received international attention due to ongoing protests, but Amelias 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.


Michelle Zhang awarded 3 Fellowships for fieldwork in China this Fall

Michelle Zhang is a rising fourth year doctoral student in the Applied Anthropology program. She's excited to begin fieldwork this Fall in Beijing, China and is thankful for the generous support from the Weatherhead Institute, the Confucius China Studies Program, and Teachers College. In Beijing, she will be investigating youth cultural practices and innovation among the diverse young people who come to Beijing (for school, for work, and to play). Michelle is interested in what young people do together in urban China and what we can learn about the capacity and ongoing work of young people in shaping our social world. 
1) The Weatherhead Institute's C. Martin Wilbur Fellowship
The C. Martin Wilbur Fellowship supports dissertation research and writing for advanced doctoral students in a social science department or East Asian history, and who have a research focus on modern China. This fellowship will help support tuition, health insurance, and stipend for the upcoming year. 
2) The Confucius China Studies Program Joint Ph.D. Fellowship
The Confucius China Studies Program is run by Hanban in Beijing. The Joint Ph.D fellowship provides students from outside China with financial and institutional support to conduct doctoral research in China, including round-trip airfare reimbursement, living stipend, research stipend, institutional affiliation and advising with a local University, and visa support.
3) Teachers College Research Dissertation Fellowship
This TC fellowship provides a $6000 supplement to support tuition, living, research, and/or travel for this upcoming year. It supports a wide range of projects and disciplines, and helps TC doctoral students carry out their dissertation research. 

Andrew Wortham awarded Cowin Research Fellowship

Andrew Wortham has joined the Cowin Financial Literacy Project as an Associate Project Manager and Doctoral Research Fellow.  He will be working with Joyce Cowin, Anand Mandi, Maureen Grolnick and Rob Shand on their work to develop and teach a course on financial literacy that high school teachers can teach in their classrooms.  The project emerged from the 2008 financial crises when Joyce Cowin felt that many Americans had been misled due to a lack of understanding about their financial situation and options.  This course seeks to move beyond simply lecturing students about financial terms and use case studies to teach students how to critically evaluate situations and make better financial decisions.  It also hopes to empower lower-income students to understand the financial systems, and advocate and work for broader structural changes.  Andrew will be helping to write the curriculum and launch the new online classes that begin in January 2017.


Amelia Herbert awarded 2016 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Amelia Herbert has been awarded a 2016 Predoctoral Fellowship by the Ford Foundation and National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. These awards are made to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.
Amelia's research focuses on the ways that the transition from high school to university transforms the subjectivities of black youth from townships in Cape Town, South Africa. She also seeks to understand the social production of university spaces and the experiences of black youth on the campuses of selective universities. This focus relates to her broader interest in how educational attainment affects the ways people see and situate themselves in relation to power, privilege, and authority, especially in contexts of marked disparity in access to resources, including South Africa and the United States. In the context of current calls to decolonize and diversify universities, Amelia seeks to illuminate the quotidian experiences of the students driving this movement and to supplement institutional notions of diversity (often articulated in terms of enrollment data, policies, and programming) with a focus on the lived realities of students who are navigating the cultural dimensions of the university from a marginal positioning.


Shana Colburn receives a V.K. Wellington Koo Fellowship for the 2016-2017 Academic Year, awarded through the Weatherhead East Asian Institute

With the support of the V.K. Wellington Koo Fellowship, Shana will complete the writing of her dissertation. Her study is a person-centered ethnography based on 8 months of fieldwork conducted in China's first Internet radio station. Through the medium of the station, the study probes the construct of the Chinese state at the intersections of youth, technology and the market. Within the analysis, Shana grapples with the role of the individual in narrating and creating meaning to how the party-state is presently recognized and understood. Thus she situates the individual as not only a unit of analysis within the larger framework of the project, but also as a phenomenon under study within Chinese society at large (Yan 2009). By doing the work of ethnography, the project sheds light on the lived realities of a Chinese media organization operating in a time of heightened market competition, declining state support, and within an urban environment that is increasingly open to, as well as at the whims of the logics of neoliberal policies and practices.



Anthropology students Andrew Wortham and Michelle Zhang awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Andrew Wortham is currently a first-year Masters student. After two years of teaching in a small village in Yunnan, China, he witnessed a complex social process of students positioning and being positioned as successes and failures. This was derived partially through specific school interactions but also reflected social practices of youth culture amongst adolescents. For his FLAS research he will be studying Chinese so that he can return to this village and study the creation of rural youth culture, especially amongst students whose parents reside in other parts of the country for work and thus have increased social emphasis on friends and cohorts over traditional family structures. 

As a third-year doctoral student, Michelle will be using her FLAS award to begin preparing to undertake fieldwork in the Fall of 2017. She hopes to use the additional language training to improve her academic proficiency in reading Chinese, a necessary skill to engage deeply and critically with the wealth of Chinese-language resources available. Michelle’s research focuses on discursive categories in practice; at the moment, she is particularly interested in strategies of locality production in relation to government-imposed hukou policies. Her participants in Beijing are often labeled “non-local” or “migrant” - she hopes that an emphasis on practice and the everyday work of locality can uncover the processes by which such commonsensical labels are produced.


Sarah Brennan receives the Society for the Anthropology of Europe and the Council for European Studies Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship for 2016

Sarah French Brennan's dissertation research examines how the processes of claiming asylum as a sexual minority produces rather than simply represents a specific type of subject, with a specific focus on Muslim asylum seekers. In the context of the largest influx of refugees in Europe since the Second World War, as well as resurgent xenophobic nationalism in the Netherlands and across Europe, Islamophobia has become a real political force, and the supposed exceptional homophobia of Muslim communities in particular has ignited a moral panic over "tolerating intolerance." Muslims who apply for asylum as sexual minorities thus inhabit a unique space. A successful asylum claim involves the telling of a narrative credible to the asylum system, using the ideological idioms of sexuality, experience, and culture that are intelligible and recognizable to Dutch officials. What is the role played by formalized social networks and small non-governmental organizations in producing and constituting communities of Muslim “LBGT asylum seekers” and refugees? What are the contexts in which strategies, stories, and social lives are shared between asylum seekers?

The Council for European Studies has supported this research with the 2015 Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship, helping to fund initial stages of fieldwork, offering the opportunity to publish in the journal, Perspectives on Europe, and providing professional development activities, including participation in the annual CES Conference.


Dr. Oliveira named finalist for Outstanding Dissertation Award

Dr. Gabrielle Marcelletti Rocha de Oliveira (2015) is a finalist of the Outstanding Dissertation Award given every year by the Council on Anthropology and Education to recognize the author of an outstanding dissertation recently completed in the field of anthropology and education. 

Dissertation Title: Transnational Care Constellations: Mexican Immigrant Mothers and their Children in Mexico and in New York City.

Abstract: The feminization of Mexican migration to the United States is increasing, and more mothers who migrate leave their children behind for long periods to be cared for by grandparents or relatives in Mexico. We know little about how transnational familial ties across the U.S. -Mexico border influence the educational aspirations and social trajectories of this group of children. This study asks how Mexican maternal migration has influenced the education, migration aspirations, and social opportunities of the children in Mexico, comparing these to their siblings who were brought over to America or who were born in the United States. These families, or what refer to “transnational care constellations” include the following types of members: New York based undocumented mothers; the children they brought to the U.S. (also undocumented); their U.S. born offspring (U.S. citizens); children they have left behind in Mexico; and children’s caregivers in Mexico. Drawing on ethnographic method as well as surveys I examine transnational caregiving practices among women with mixed-status children in New York and Mexico. The ethnographic core of my dissertation work tracked twenty transnational families who are split between Mexico and the U.S over a period of 18 months. My scholarship contributes new perspectives to studies of transnational migration and the intersections between sociology of migration, and anthropology of gender and education. The field of migration and education is fundamentally interdisciplinary, thus I use anthropological methods and theory to address questions that are usually addressed by sociologists and economists.

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