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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anthropology

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"For A Future Tomorrow": The Figured Worlds Of Schoolgirls In Kono, Sierra Leone, Jordene Hale Dec 2013

"For A Future Tomorrow": The Figured Worlds Of Schoolgirls In Kono, Sierra Leone, Jordene Hale

Doctoral Dissertations

Current research in Sub-Sahara Africa suggests that young women face challenges in accessing and completing schooling, due among other things to gender related school based violence (Bruce & Hallman, 2008; Dunne, Humphreys, & Leach, 2006; Lloyd, Kaufman, & Hewett, 2000). These studies, while valuable in providing documentation on school enrollment and school leaving, do not explore the motivational framework where young women remain in school.

The purpose of this dissertation is to trace how schoolgirls’ identities or “figured worlds” (Gee, 2011) are co-constructed in particular contexts by the same cohort of schoolgirls, their teachers, households, and communities through an ethnographic case study conducted over a period of three years from 2010 to 2013 in Kono, Sierra Leone. The unit of analysis is the experience of the individual schoolgirls rendered in detailed portraits. The central research question addressed is: What are the ‘figured worlds’ that these schoolgirls inhabit that compels them, in the face of overwhelming odds, to commit to schooling? What is the role of “imagined communities” for these schoolgirls (Anderson, 1991; Kanno & Norton, 2003)? Further, how do the schoolgirls utilize the liminal space of schooling (Switzer, 2010)? Employing the portraiture methodology (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Hoffman Davis, 1997) this research focuses on three schoolgirls, their communities, and their relationships with the researcher. This research analyzes how for schoolgirls in sub-Sahara Africa, the figured worlds of schoolgirls, is an identity that despite the physical risk, economic loss, and unlikely career success, becomes compelling. This ...


Rewriting The Balkans: Memory, Historiography, And The Making Of A European Citizenry, Dana N. Johnson Jan 2012

Rewriting The Balkans: Memory, Historiography, And The Making Of A European Citizenry, Dana N. Johnson

Masters Theses 1911 - February 2014

This thesis explores the work of historians, history teachers, and NGO employees engaged in regional initiatives to mitigate the influence of enduring ethnocentric national histories in the Balkans. In conducting an ethnography of the development and dissemination of such initiatives, I queried how conflict and controversy are negotiated in developing alternative educational materials, how “multiperspectivity” is understood as a pedagogical approach and a tool of reconciliation, and how the interests of civil society intersect with those of the state and supranational actors. My research sought to interrogate the field of power in which such attempts to innovate history education occur ...