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Anthropology at Home: Perspectives from Africa - Roundtable Discussion

  • University of Amsterdam, REC Building Room C5.12 166 Nieuwe Achtergracht Amsterdam, NH, 1018 WV Netherlands (map)

10:00 Welcome and Opening, Dr. Eileen Moyer

10:15 Session I: Succeeding at Home and Abroad Today and Tomorrow

Joe Lugalla (10-minute presentation)

Balancing an International Career in the US and Engaging in National and Local Development in Tanzania

Phillimon Ndubani (10-minute presentation)

The Socioeconomic Challenges of Post-retirement Life in Zambia

11:30 Coffee

12:00 Session II: Doing PhD Research at Home - Challenges and Joys

Joseph Simbaya (10-minute presentation)

Ethnographic Spaces and Dilemmas

Joseph will discuss the challenges and solutions of doing ethnography at home: in a clinic space with familiar faces. In areas where people with HIV remain highly stigmatized, they seek treatment in spaces unlikely to be patronized by relatives and friends. This often involved avoiding nearby clinics to seek services across the city where they are unlikely to be known. How does an anthopologist confronted with relatives and friends accessing services for a stigmatized condition negotiate the ethnographic space? What are the other challenges of Africans doing anthropology at home?

Emmy Igonya (10-minute presentation)

Research on Multiple Sensitive Issues, Thesis Writing and Consultancy: A personal experience

Drawing on a two-year PhD research on HIV support groups in Kenya, I reflect on experience with stigma when researching MSM sex workers; challenges of dealing with my own grief in the field and writing about it; challenges of balancing a very full research schedule with family life; and challenges balancing  finishing a PhD thesis and consultancy. The question I pursue here is what PhD researchers should fundamentally do when confronted with disturbing dominant discourse on their research topic of being the stigmatized other, intimate research topics that trigger emotions, family life and consultancy work.

13:00 Continuation of discussion over lunch which will be provided on site

About the speakers

Dr. Joe Lugalla is the Director of the Institute for Educational Development, East Africa (IED, EA) of Aga Khan University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He was born and raised in Tanzania. After training as a teacher, he taught in both elementary and secondary schools before returning to studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1979. He obtained a BA (Honours) in Sociology in 1982 and subsequently joined the University as a Tutorial Assistant in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In 1984, he received his MA in Sociology/Anthropology. Dr. Lugalla completed his PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Bremen (1990) and a Post-Doctoral Diploma in Higher Education and International Development from the University of Kassel (1990).

In 1991, Dr. Lugalla returned to the University of Dar es Salaam to serve as the Head of the Department of Sociology. During 1993-94, he served as Research Fellow, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. In 1994, he was appointed as Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of New Hampshire. He became Professor in 2004 and Chair of the same department in 2007 - a position he held until June 2014. Joe also served as the President of the Tanzanian Studies Association, an affiliate of the African Studies Association of America.

Phillimon Ndubani, PhD, is a Public Health Specialist with over 20 years of experience in public health research, teaching and program evaluations. He has managed and coordinated community-based public health research projects that have focus on health systems, health seeking behaviours (examining obstacles to health services accessibility and utilization by communities especially the vulnerable groups) and gender issues including male sexuality and GBV etc. Dr. Ndubani has also taught undergraduate and postgraduate level students in several University of Zambia (UNZA) academic departments (Gender Studies, Community Medicine, Social Development Studies, Population Studies and Nursing Sciences).

Dr. Ndubani currently manages two organizations; (i) Frontiers Development and Research Group,  a research consultancy and research capacity building organization; and (ii) Families Matter Zambia (FMZ), an organization that implements a global evidence-based intervention called Families Matter Program (FMP) designed to promote positive parenting practices and effective parent-child communication about sexuality and sexual risk reduction. Dr. Ndubani has continued to lecture at UNZA and other universities on a part-time basis. 

Joseph Simbaya is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic and Social Research at the University of Zambia. He is a Doctoral Candidate in Medical Anthropology at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include HIV/AIDS and the interaction of international and local organizations. His PhD studies focus on how institutions of care transform. 

Emmy Kageha Igonya is currently a postdoctoral researcher of medical anthropology at the Vrije University Amsterdam.  She is also finalizing her PhD in anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.  Her research focuses on HIV, social institutions, infant feeding, sexuality, drug use, sex work and empowerment of women and girls in urban settings in Kenya.

Sponsor: Department of Anthropology, The African Studies Seminar and the Becoming Men Research Group