Anthropology and Sociology Senior Majors Symposium

Program Schedule, February 1, 2018

Session 1: 9:30-10:10 Supportive Networks and Health

Moderator: Karen McCormack

Barrett Lanigan, Online Support Groups for Alternative Medicine: Do Users Share a Worldview?

Joel Lopez, Health, Well-Being, and Social Support Networks among Students

Session 2: 10:20-11:00 Networks: Environment and Ecology

Moderator: Justin Schupp

Jasper K. Guyer-Stevens, Traditional Ecological Knowledge: the role of revitalized customs in ecological preservation in Vietnam and Laos

Mackenzie Goller, “Hey Farmers! How do you get your products out there?” Decision Making in Small Scale Farm Product Distribution

Session 2: 11:10-11:50: Gender & Institutions

Moderator: Kate Mason

Katie Clay-McBee, The Writing on the Wall: A Content Analysis of Facebook Groups for the 2016 Election

Megan Barnes, What Happened to the Good Old Days? Changes in Intimacy Between Men


Lunch break until 1:00


Session 3: 1:00-1:45 Practices and Politics of Migration

Moderator: Hyun Kim

Eli Salazar, Criminalizing Immigrants: Structural Violence in US Immigration Practice.

Elise McGovern, Framing Immigration: Examining 20 Years of News Coverage

Session 4: 2:00-3:00 Inequality & Institutions

Moderator: Donna Kerner

Hannah Zack. Space, Power, and the Fight for Inclusion: Spatial Access and Social Belonging

Bay Gammans, “This Place is Home:” The Organization of After School Programs in a Multicultural, Working Class City

Simone Thorne, Growing Up in the Middle: The Effects of Birth Order and Family Structure on Students


Break 3:00-3:30


Session 5:  3:30-4:45 Creating Community, Creating Change

Moderator: Gabriela Torres

Redding Morse, #ICantBreathe: The Propagation of the Black Lives Matter Narrative through Twitter

Allison Miller, Negotiating Parenting: Online Communities as Tools in Developmental Crossroads

Helen Hassan, The Production of Counternarratives and the Politics of Truth

Anna VanRemoortel, Cultural Capital Among Zero Waste Consumers


5:00 Reception
5:30 Dinner


6:00 Guest Speaker:

Gowri Vijayakumar, Brandeis University

The Traveling Researcher:
Class, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Transnational Qualitative Sociology

Gowri Vijayakumar, Brandeis University

“Following the policy” (Peck and Theodore 2012) offers a strategy for studying transnational processes at multiple scales, in multiple sites, and through multiple types of institutions. But how does the researcher’s own standpoint shape the process of research across contexts? Feminist scholars have written about the ethical and analytical value of reflecting on the researcher’s own standpoint (e.g. Naples 1999). In this talk, drawing on both of these methodological approaches, I discuss the unique insights of analyzing standpoint in studying transnational HIV/AIDS programs in India and Kenya.

HIV/AIDS programs developed through iterative debates, protests, and consultations involving North American and European donors, multilateral international institutions, national and local state agencies, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and activist groups of sex workers and sexual minorities, and studying them required moving across these contexts. Drawing on a year of participant observation with sex worker and sexuality rights organizations in Bangalore, India and nearly 150 in-depth interviews with sex workers, sexual minorities, NGO workers, activists, lawyers, and government officials across India and Kenya, I show how my presence as an upper-caste, middle-class, Indian American, cis-gendered woman shaped my research process and findings. As Kenyan sex workers compared themselves to “Indians” like me, or Indian transgender women compared themselves to “women” like me, or poor Indian cisgender women in sex work compared themselves to “rich” or “educated” women like me, they began to theorize with me about the categories my research sought to unpack. My caste, gender, and sexuality, and at times even my political commitments, through a dialogic process, shaped categories of analysis available for discussion, and helped my informants identify more explicitly gendered boundaries of respectability to be policed or transgressed. I close by reflecting on the ethical, analytical, and political commitments of feminist ethnography as it seeks to simultaneously understand and challenge the production of gender, sexuality, class, and caste privilege.

Past Symposiums