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Catherine L. Besteman
Ethnographic Research in the Middle of Jubba Valley of southern Somalia
These photographs and audio interviews were part of my ethnographic research in the Middle Jubba Valley of southern Somalia in 1987-88. As Somalia's civil war spread into the valley in 1991, many Jubba Valley villages were targeted by armed militia and over the course of that decade tens of thousands of survivors fled the valley for refugee camps in Kenya. These refugees are known as Somali Bantus, an ethnic category recognized with official P2 (persecuted minority) status, and many have been resettled in the United States. Many of the refugees from Banta now live in Lewiston Maine. Photographs by Jorge Acero.
Click here to listen to interviews with Somali Bantu residents.
Click here to look at photographs of Somali Bantu residents.
Click here to listen an interview about the Somali Bantu Refugees on Maine Watch
"I am a historical anthropologist of the Caribbean and Europe. I am committed to examining how the past, present, and future impact one another and encourage a heightened sensibility about why this kind of interrogation matters. My teaching interests cluster around diaspora, travel, islands, preservation, and empires. I am particularly interested how people in colonies used ordinary objects to incite decolonization; the everyday experiences of the African diaspora in the Atlantic world. My current research project is a historical ethnography of an airline. I use archival and ethnographic sources from Barbados, Jamaica, and England to expose how West Indian people and places shaped, as they were changed by, the development of Britain's 'national' airline from the 1920s to today. The colonial and post-colonial politics of air, speed, perception, failure, and mobility are at the heart of this project."
Mary Beth Mills
My work examines contemporary socio-cultural and economic transformations in rural and urban Thailand. I am especially interested in how local experiences of globalizing processes (transnational mobility and migration, urbanization, commodification, etc.) and their associated discourses of modernity give rise to the specific, creative, and contested negotiations of everyday life. In particular, I highlight the significance of gender (as ideology, as structured hierarchy, and as lived identity) for understanding these complex social realities. I have conducted fieldwork in Thailand since 1987; this work has explored three primary topics.
Rural-Urban Labor Migration in Thailand Beginning in 1987, a primary focus of my research has been the complex dynamics and consequences of young rural women’s entry into urban industrial wage labor. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural Northeast Thailand and in Bangkok, I examine women’s labor migration (and their ongoing ties to rural communities) in relation to powerful forms of commodity consumption, popular media, and national discourses of modernity.
Women, Migrants, and Labor Activism Since the mid-1990s I have studied the participation of some labor migrants, and particularly women, in Thailand’s labor movement. This work draws on ongoing field-based interviews and observations with activists in Bangkok and affiliated NGOs, exploring the creative, often gendered strategies and motivations that sustain migrants’ activism despite limited political gains.
Gender, Global Labor, Transnational Mobility Most recently (since 2000) my research has expanded to incorporate broader regional and global contexts of labor and mobility. Part of this work draws on long term field research in rural Thailand to investigate local responses to men’s participation in transnational contract labor. In other work, I explore patterns of gendered labor recruitment and transnational mobility across Asia and beyond.
Maple Razsa, who recently received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University, is writing Bastards of Utopia: An Ethnography of Radical Politics after Yugoslav Socialism. Based on fieldwork in Zagreb, Croatia, this book examines transnational cooperation among radical left-wing activists in Europe. Razsa’s decade of research in the former Yugoslavia has focused on a variety of topics, including nationalism, neoliberalism, social movements, civil society, intellectuals, film and the politics of memory. He is a documentary filmmaker and has directed films on Slovenia, Croatia, Mozambique and the U.S. To see some of the film descriptions and images, please click here.
Winifred L. Tate
"My general interests include political culture, activism and human rights; violence, law, and governance; and globalization and transnational connections between individuals, institutions and governments in the U.S. and Latin America, particularly Colombia. I first lived in Colombia in the late 1980s, studying at the National University and working with local human rights organizations. I have a BA in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University, and an MA and a PhD in Anthropology from New York University. I am currently a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. My first book, Counting the Dead: The Politics and Culture of Human Rights Activism, is being published by the University of California Press. I am very interested in public anthropology and the contributions anthropological theory and practice can make to public policy debates. I have researched political violence, drug trafficking and US foreign policy as a consultant for a number of international organizations, including UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, the U.S. Institute for Peace, the Latin American Working Group and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. I worked as a senior fellow and Colombian analyst for three years at the Washington Office on Latin America while completing my doctoral degree. My current research draws on this experience in a project examining the U.S. policymaking process in the design and implementation of Plan Colombia, including fieldwork in Washington and Putumayo, Colombia."