Advanced search
Start date

Critical events and humanitarian aid: an anthropological perspective

Grant number: 13/15059-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2013
Effective date (End): March 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Omar Ribeiro Thomaz
Grantee:Ana Elisa de Figueiredo Bersani
Supervisor: Erica Caple James
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/12402-3 - The (extra)ordinary of help: untold stories on disaster and generosity in the Grand'Anse, Haiti, BP.MS


The original Master's degree research to which this project is attached aims to reveal and discuss the existing social dynamics in Haiti that, activated in the wake of the earthquake on January 12, 2010, played a key role in ensuring the maintenance of order and the survival of the majority of the homeless. Accordingly, a link has been proposed between the ethnographic dimension - assessed through fieldwork in the region of Grand'Anse, Haiti, more specifically, the city of Jérémie and surrounding region - and a bibliographic survey about the dynamics and problems implied in contexts of disaster. The project as a whole, aims to discuss, in the first place, the historical background and the current situation in Haiti after the disaster. Second, based on ethnographic work, to address the dynamic characteristic of contemporary Haitian society, paying attention not only to the implied dimensions of modern associativism, but also to those dimensions considered traditional spheres such as family relationships, neighborhood or friendship and their place in helping the afflicted. Finally, we intend to explore issues pertinent to anthropological research in this context by questioning the role of the state and of humanitarian actions undertaken by international organizations active in the country. With this purpose, the first steps of this research were taken with the completion of an extensive literature review of studies on Haitian history and classic and contemporary ethnographic studies about the country and its social configuration. Another step was taken during the fieldwork carried out during the months of January and April 2013 in the region of Grand'Anse, assessing the complex web of relationships that not only allowed the absorption of homeless in this Haitian province, but also conditioned the strategies adopted in a context of insecurity and major transformations. Addressing issues related to development studies and humanitarianism requires, however, a more careful reading and analysis of works devoted to similar situations of crisis and to social phenomena that emerge in contexts marked by critical events, which shall further contribute to exploratory movement. It is particularly relevant to the analysis of ethnographic data that, parallel to the writing of the Master's thesis, an extensive reading program shall be pursued to assess the literature dedicated to this field of study. Thus, through this internship and research project, to be carried out within the framework of the Anthropology Program of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I expect to advance one of the main steps in my ongoing Master's degree research to its fruitful completion. The MIT internship would provide the researcher an immersion into an internationally recognized academic environment, which will definitely be conducive to a deepening of her knowledge about the themes that pervade her anthropological reflection. (AU)

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
More itemsLess items

Please report errors in scientific publications list using this form.