1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Socio-cultural

LaHatte

Development aid advocates a normative ethos of professionalism that foregrounds equality between providers and recipients while discouraging personal relationships that could lead to accusations of corruption, nepotism, and dependency. These personal relationships are understood to undermine the inculcation of values such as transparency and accountability that are encouraged by development aid providers.

Huang

My current dissertation project investigates the complex relations among land, gender, traditional hierarchy, and state bureaucracy in Yap (Wa’ab), Federated States of Micronesia. I aim to analyze an international tourist development project in Yap, which has provoked local cleavage along the lines of gender, race, states and cultures. In this project, I hope to unravel the gendered subjectivities encompassed in local hierarchy.

Hedges

My dissertation research examines the cultural logics and analytical categories according to which Beninese men and women conceptualize government corruption. Corruption is frequently criticized in Beninese newspapers, on television and radio programs, and in daily, informal conversation. But the pervasive public condemnation of corruption coexists with an equally prevalent celebration of mέjomέ, a prestigious social title given to elected public officials who redistribute significant sums of material wealth to Beninese experiencing privation.

Donahue Singh

Sociocultural Anthropology

Regional focus: South Asia, India.

Topical interests: Reproduction, kinship studies, medical anthropology.

Dennis

My current research is situated within the context of Nepal’s ongoing transition from Hindu monarchy to secular democracy. Specifically, I focus on the ways in which Brahmans, as a historically privileged group due to their high caste status, are negotiating new ideas of citizenship that integrate Hinduism and secularism. The particular ethnographic settings in which I work include emerging Hindu festivals and a private Brahman-run school.

de Carvalho

I am interested in looking at native Amerindian models used not only to conceptualize the state and its effects, but also to guide routine interactions between the Amerindian and non-Amerindian populations. Right now I am working with the Makushi people, who are spread across the international borders of Brazil and Guyana.

Colby-Bottel

My dissertation examines the local management of traditional jazz music in post-Katrina New Orleans. “Traditional jazz” is generally understood to be the early form of jazz developed and played in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. Locals often explain traditional jazz as they explain their city: The culmination of centuries of blended peoples and cultures making New Orleans, and its music, unique.

Cieslak

Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, I received my BA in South Asian studies (emphasis in Hindi) and English literature in May 2011 from the University of Iowa. I first became interested in the “toilet problem” in India as part of my undergraduate Honors thesis, which explored the confluence of forces that contributed to inadequate public facilities for women in Pune.

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