Monday, March 6, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Where: University Hall, Hagstrum Room, UH 201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students
Cost: OPEN FREE
Natasha O Dennison
Category: Lectures & Meetings
CLARA HAN: Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
"A Life in Debt to the Dead: Learning Kinship in a Setting of Pervasive Death”
Description: How do children come to learn kinship in a setting of pervasive death? How do children come to inherit the dead within a web of kinship? What is it to be “in debt to the dead”, as seen through the eyes of the child? In this talk, I draw on ethnographic research in a low-income neighborhood under police occupation in Santiago, Chile. In particular, I focus on an extended case study of a young man who was killed by police during a drug raid in the neighborhood. At the time of his death, he and his girlfriend were expecting their first child, a daughter. This ethnography brings into soft focus the ways in which the extended kinship network and neighbors brought this child into a web of kinship and how the child is coming to learn who her father is and what a father is. Much anthropological literature has explored how the debts to the dead are given form through commemoration. This paper takes a different angle on the debt to the dead – not in terms of how the dead are remembered or forgotten in commemorative practices, but rather how the dead are intimately made alive to us in everyday life. Through exploring the ways in which the child was seen to inherit gestures and expressions from her father, the father’s visits to the child and her relatives in dreams, and the child’s efforts to touch and hear her father, this talk considers how the dead are woven into kinship and how kinship is marked by a complex interplay of death and life, absence and presence in this neighborhood.
Bio: Clara Han is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the study of violence, poverty, and health in everyday life. She has worked extensively in low-income neighborhoods in Santiago, Chile and is undertaking new research in Korea. She is the author of Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neoliberal Chile (UC Press, 2012) and the co-editor of Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium (UC Press, 2015).
reception to follow