Paper Abstracts


A  ·  B  ·  C  ·  D  ·  E  ·  F  ·  G  ·  H  ·  I-J  ·  K  ·  L  ·  M  ·  N  ·  O  ·  P  ·  Q-R  ·  S  ·  T  ·  U-V  ·  W  ·  X-Y-Z

UBIALI, Bruno and NELSON, Donald (UGA), COUGHLAN, Michael (U Oregon) Through the Generations: Household Adaptations to Changing Social and Environmental Contexts. Households are dynamic constructs, moving through lifecycles and stages. However, funding and logistics can conspire to constrain the types of methods we use and the questions we ask. Here, we focus on temporal household dynamics, drawing on 40 years of census and other archival data to explore relationships of people, agricultural livelihoods, and a degrading U.S. Southern Piedmont environment. We capture a volatile period, bracketing the civil war, to explore the ways in which households, through lifecycles and generations, responded to changing social, political, and environmental context. (F-103) 

ULLMAN, Char and MANGELSDORF, Kate (UTEP) Exploring the Linguistic and Cultural Identity Processes of Minoritized Doctoral Students’ Becoming. How do doctoral students from traditionally minoritized groups (Latinx, Black, differently-abled, and queer) become ethnographers and scholars? Conceptualizing research and writing as social action (Kamler and Thomson, 2006), this paper draws from a two-year ethnography that included individual interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and artifact analysis. We explore the ways in which the taking and writing of field notes, conducting and transcribing interviews, and coding and analyzing data are all aspects of the composing process. Focusing on their identity-construction processes, this study offers new ways to understand how minoritized students move from outsider to insider in the academy. (W-44) 

VALENZUELA, Robin (Indiana U) Contingent Citizens: Mexican-American Wards and Transnational Family Reunification. Drawing on ethnographic research collected in Chicago and Mexico from 2016-2019, this paper examines Illinois child welfare cases involving Mexican-American wards. In particular, it examines the contingent citizenship Mexican-American wards embody when Illinois child welfare officials decide to reunify them with family members in Mexico. Moreover, it highlights the precarity Mexican parents experience while striving to perform the competencies Illinois child welfare agents associates with good parenting. In so doing, it exposes the subjectivities and liminalities produced through transnational placement, even as such placements open up new possibilities for cross-border family reunification. (F-123) 

VALENZUELA, Sofia (UTEP) Student Research in Sexual Health on the University of Texas at El Paso. This research focus on the sexual health practices UTEP students engaged in, reach, as well as types of resources they would like to receive from the university. Thus, for the university to improve sexual health education and resources to students. Findings of this research include: better communication between the university resource providers and the students, which included inviting and informing students from all colleges; LGBTQIA+ inclusivity when it comes to education; safe and educational spaces to talk about issues such as sexual assault, HIV, and the Trans community; more LGBTQIA+ representation amongst university faculty and staff members. (TH-98) 

VALLES, Edgar (UW-Madison) and ROMERO, Roger (LNESC Dallas) “You Need to Intellectualize Everything!”: Thinking beyond the School-day Using a Socially Responsive Curriculum in Community Spaces. Students from a low-income and predominately Latino Dallas neighborhood have increased opportunities to attend post-secondary institutions with the help of community organizations and college-readiness programs. However, the view of education as limited to the school-day by students in a college-readiness program led to the creation of socially responsive content. The Program Manager and myself worked to form a curriculum which would help program participants to “intellectualize everything,” so that students begin to see all events as moments for analytical and personal exploration. This paradigm broadens the scope of intellectual activity beyond the school-day, dissolving the distinction between school and education. (TH-105)

VAN EENDENBURG, Hannah (U Colorado) Seed Sovereignty: An Insight into Corporate Agriculture and Local Resistance. Climate change, environmental biodiversity, and food security are important and interlinked phenomena in this time of rapidly changing climate and ecosystems. Seed saving is an urgent issue that permeates all levels of power, and the discourse encompassing it is greatly debated and challenged. In this presentation, I discuss my research on seed saving in high altitude towns in Colorado. My findings highlight that an understanding of the biotechnical, ecological, and social symbols of seed and an examination of corporate agriculture and local resistance provides insight into a contentious discourse on seed sovereignty, human rights, and cultural identity. (F-35) 

VAN VLACK, Kathleen (Living Heritage Rsch Council) Ceremony and Re/connection: The Ioway and Effigy Mounds National Monument. Effigy Mounds National Monument (EFMO), located in northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River, contains the largest collection of burial and ceremonial mounds managed by the National Park Service. These mounds have since time immemorial been a key ceremonial center shared by many Native American peoples. Euro-Americans tribal forcibly relocated and legally disconnected the Iowa people thus breaking their ceremonial traditions connections to the mounds. Today the Ioway people are re/connecting with EFMO, facilitated by ethnographic studies. This paper examines how the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska are now able to re/connect with and share in the management of Effigy Mounds NM. (F-95) 

VANDERLINDEN, Lisa (TCU) Toxic Illness, Well-being and Structural Violence in the Wake of the BP Oil Disaster. The 2010 BP oil spill left in its wake an unprecedented and ongoing environmental health crisis. Based upon interviews with illness sufferers, this paper analyzes the adverse impact of Gulf Coast Illness on well-being and the ability to pursue the “good life,” both of which are rooted in the ability to sustain oneself economically and to engage with the unique natural environment of the Delta. This research reveals that well-being is conditioned by residents’ disaster-related health problems and by the structural consequences of a recovery process that amplified social inequalities, undercut independent small businesses and often fractured community. (W-11)​​​​​​​ 

VANWINKLE, Tony (Sterling Coll) Eulogium for the Ash Tree: Extinction and the Ethics of Uncertainty in Multi-species Interventions. The “invasive” beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was discovered in North America in 2002, and confirmed in Vermont in 2018. The insect’s behavior results in high mortality rates for trees in the ash family (Fraxinus). In Vermont, responses have ranged from the reactionary to the resigned. The black ash in particular, is a cultural keystone species for the region’s Abenaki peoples. It figures centrally in tribal creation stories, and is the preferred material in Abenaki basket making traditions. This paper highlights current projects attempting to decolonize local responses to uncertainty and extinction through tribally guided, collaborative interventions. (TH-126)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

VEDWAN, Neeraj (Montclair State U) Emerging Hydroscapes in a Globalizing India: New Roles and Reconfigured Relationships between Civil Society and Citizens. Robert Rhoades viewed resilience as a defining attribute of traditional cultures, in varied physical and social environments. In this paper, I will examine the changing uses and meaning of water and associated practices in different socio-cultural settings in Northern India. Civil society, especially non-governmental organizations, have emerged as a key mediator in the variegated constellations of rationalities, practices and policies surrounding water. Using case-studies, I will explore the resilience of these human-water relationships within the context of the political-economy of a developmental state. (W-36)​​​​​​​ 

VEDWAN, Neeraj (Montclair State U), BRISTOL, Warren (U Arizona), and LAL, Pankaj (Montclair State U) Improved Biomass Cookstove in Rural Rwanda: Use, Benefits and Challenges That Constrain Diffusion. This presentation will focus on the adoption of improved biomass cookstoves (canarumwe) in the villages along the periphery of the Nyungwe National Forest in Rwanda. The cookstove was promoted to reduce the pressure on the national forest and to improve household health and well-being. Using primary and secondary data, this presentation will delve into household perceptions, attitudes and practices related to the adoption and use of canarumwe. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the difficulties encountered in documenting the effects of canarumwe due to the sensitive nature of the data being collected. (S-06)​​​​​​​ 

VEGA, Rosalynn (UTRGV) Bacteria R Us?: How Mitochondrial DNA Transforms Kinship. This paper, based on 14 months of digital and traditional ethnographic research among hundreds of functional medicine practitioners, explores how our shifting relationship with mitochondria is transforming understandings of genetic inheritance, and therefore, kinship. When sperm and egg meet to form a zygote, a third set of DNA is present—mitochondrial DNA. Recent advances in mitochondrial medicine have revealed that these structures are less human than bacterial, thus revolutionizing the notion of genetic inheritance as solely derived from one’s mother and father. Understanding our microbial inheritance paves the way for three-party IVF procedures using mitochondrial donors to cure all future generations of mitochondrial disease. (F-129)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

VEILE, Amanda (Purdue U) Urbanization, Migration and Indigenous Health in Peru. Indigenous peoples worldwide are susceptible to a suite of negative health outcomes due to colonial policies and globalization, racism, and impoverished socioeconomic conditions. Despite valiant efforts to improve health care access in Latin America, this remains the reality. This paper reports on a comparative study of women’s health in two Peruvian indigenous communities that are experiencing urbanization, either through an internal migration event, or because of adjacency to a growing urban center. This paper will describe the synergistic nutritional, epidemiological and cultural factors that shape birthing practices, breastfeeding patterns, and women’s metabolic health outcomes in these transitioning Peruvian indigenous communities. (F-98)​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​VICENTE PEREZ, Michael (U Memphis) Minoritizing Palestinians: On Refugees, Statelessness, and Prolonged Exclusion in the National Order of Things. Since 1967, Palestinian refugees displaced from the Gaza Strip have been stateless refugees in Jordan. This paper takes the situation of these Palestinians and argues that minoritization is a product of protracted refugee status. My aim in doing so is, first, to demonstrate how the legal categorization of displaced peoples can result in their social identification as a minority community in national settings and, second, to challenge the tendency to treat refugees as singular communities defined by their status as refugees. My analysis will thus consider questions of citizenship and statelessness, ethnicity and nationalism, and city and refugee camp. (S-33)

VICKERS, Mary and KLINE, Nolan (Rollins Coll), ECONOMOS, Jeannie (Farmworker Assoc FL), The Hope Community Center (Apopka, Florida) Coming of Age Under Trump: The Impact of Anti-Immigrant Politics and Policies on Latinx Youth. Under the Trump administration, US immigration policy has been informed by white nationalism and xenophobia, demanding anthropological attention. In this paper, we examine how anti-immigrant rhetoric affects Latinx high schoolers with immigrant parents. Data from an engaged, collaborative ethnographic study with immigrant-serving nonprofits in Central Florida illustrate Latinx youth’s feelings of isolation, internalized racism, and frustration resulting from President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. We describe how Latinx students’ non-Hispanic peers adopt nativist ideologies and become actors in the Trump administration’s biopolitical effort to curtail immigrant rights. Lastly, we document community-based responses and argue a need for comprehensive immigration reform. (F-123)

VILCHIS, Sahara (CSUDH) To Be a Kid in San Jorge, Guatemala. Parents and caretakers of children aged 2-12 years in San Jorge, Guatemala, have different ideas of their responsibilities. Though some guardians claim that children should have no responsibilities in the household, this study shows it is not necessarily so. Through a series of ethnographic methods, I found that as a collective there are similar ideas of important responsibilities for children in the community. While few guardians in San Jorge believe that children should help around the house as opposed to play, children still find helping with daily activities as enjoyable and are often excited to help with daily chores. (TH-09)​​​​​​​ 

VILLAGRAN, Jose (UW-Madison) The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas: America’s Historic Source of Exploited Labor. If Ellis Island was the “golden door” through which European immigrants historically entered hoping for a chance at American prosperity, the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has since been a rusty door through which Latin American immigrants have entered, often meeting a fate of transgenerational labor exploitation as the privileges of whiteness afforded to European immigrants continually elude them. So, as “the Valley” receives warranted attention over current refugee and immigrant influxes, this paper serves as my imploration to advocates and researchers of the region to tend to the labor exploitation that persists along the South Texas border. (T-125)​​​​​​​ 

VILLEGAS, Iliana Guadalupe (Stetson U) Adolescent Migrants: Between Cultural and Legal Citizenship. This ethnographic study focuses on Mesoamerican adolescent migrants and explores their understanding of citizenship. By foregrounding the voices and experiences of adolescents navigating the emerging transnational migration apparatus, this research probes beyond militarization, legal, and humanitarian frameworks. Through the documentation of detention, deportation, and sheltering processes, it shows how adolescent migrants learn to migrate, learn securitization, and learn deportation. Furthermore, this study investigates how young people understand their predicaments as migrants on their own terms and shows how they experience their own agency and cultural citizenship by contesting protocols. (T-124)​​​​​​​ 

VOGEL, Kristen (USF) An Afrocentric Women’s Empowerment: Listening to Ghana’s Matriarchs. The adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2016 solidified a new international movement for women’s empowerment. This movement, however, rests on a western framework with a heavy economic focus. Non-western women may be disempowered by socio-cultural-political responses to this western framework. Research indicates that western frameworks for ideologies of feminism, politics, development, and the institutionalization of knowledge are inapplicable to African women, especially within traditionally matriarchal communities, to which they are frequently appropriated. Ethnographic research into the socio-cultural-political aspects of an Afrocentric women’s empowerment will help to build a new culturally relevant framework with global implications. (W-75)

VOGT, Wendy (IUPUI) Hunger Games: The Politics of Violence, Victimhood and Deservingness among Central American and Mexican (Im)migrants. This talk examines the politics of violence, victimhood and deservingness as they play out through public discourse and state policies around immigration from Central America and Mexico. It considers how the political hysteria over a series of caravans traveling from Central America across Mexico in 2018 paved the way for more punitive immigration and asylum policies including the separation of families and the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy. Beyond this, it also considers how the politics surrounding Central American asylum seekers has been used as leverage in broader geopolitical landscapes of foreign aid, trade policy and DACA in the United States. (F-03)​​​​​​​ 

VON MEDING, Jason, CHMUTINA, Ksenia, and SMITH, Colin (UFL) Demonstrating the Consequences of Labelling Disasters as “Natural.” Framing disasters as something natural absolves those creating risk of responsibility and leads to policy and practice that perpetuate a status quo focused on technocratic measures to reduce risk and build resilience. We undertook an exploratory correlational experiment using Project Implicit ( with a sample >400 to demonstrate the impact of understanding disasters as “natural” rather than “socially-constructed.” Our findings provide support for the assertion - made in our previous systematic review of disaster literature - that failure to recognize social/political/economic root causes of disasters serves to protect powerful interests and works counter to systemic change. (W-04)​​​​​​​

VOSS, Danielle (CSBSJU) Global and Local Solutions to Food Security in a Changing Climate: An Evaluation through a Gendered Lens. Climate change disproportionately impacts women’s abilities to maintain household food security. Literature suggests that global solutions presented to address the impacts of food insecurity conflict with local solutions by undermining women’s ability to produce food competitively within our global food system. Drawing on in-depth interviews conducted at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2019, this paper examines how climate change policy responses to food insecurity affect gender-based inequalities. (F-101)

©Society for Applied Anthropology 

P.O. Box 2436 • Oklahoma City, OK 73101 • 405.843.5113 •