Graduate Students

Dayuma Alban
Ariana Avila

I am a medical/sociocultural anthropologist interested in how U.S. immigration policies affect access to health care for individuals and families with undocumented or precarious immigration status, particularly among people from Haiti working and living in the agricultural hubs of Southwest Florida. I am also interested in the collective agency in responding to barriers in health and systems of power.

Isaura Godinez 

Isa’s research interests center on examining the changes in the sociocultural and physical environment brought about by international migration and how these are reflected in human biology and health. Her investigations have focused on migration among the Purepecha, an indigenous Mexican population. Her work departs from Margaret Lock’s idea that human biological variation stems from the continuous exchange between the body and the environment rather than being due to racialized difference. In addition to her dissertation work, Isa is currently working with the Building Integrated Communities Initiative housed within the Latino Migration Project at UNC.

Molly Green
Sugandh Gupta

I am a medical/sociocultural anthropologist interested in studying mental health systems and access to care in areas of distress, socio-political conflict, and violence. My current project focuses on the state-sponsored rehabilitation services (known as “de-addiction”) for injecting drug users in Jammu City, Jammu and Kashmir, India. I introduce the concept of “dependency” as an analytic shaping the experience and treatment of substance use in Jammu City. Drawing on ethnographic research, I argue that by examining de-addiction services in Jammu City through the analytic of “dependency,” one can develop an ethnographic understanding of: the impacts of regional and national politics on the administration of de-addiction services in Jammu City; the practices and relations of care among people, substances, and institutions in the provision of de-addiction services; and the multiple, overlapping, and distinct meanings of dependency as experienced in the everyday life, at the de-addiction clinic, and as a political-economic tool of governance. I am also a graduate of the Master of Psychology program at University of Delhi, India. Prior to PhD, I worked in India in the management sector and social sector conducting research, training, and organization consulting.

Julio Gutierrez

I am a sociocultural anthropologist from El Salvador. I am broadly interested in issues related to the political economy and ecology of Central America. My current research focuses on the business and political networks behind urban development in the Salvadoran region of El Bálsamo, La Libertad. I study the implications of real estate markets regarding issues around state corporatization, spatial segregation, land use and water politics.

Ampson Hagan

Ampson Hagan is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology, currently doing fieldwork in Niger. He studies how idioms and metaphors of health-related deservingness (who deserves care vs. who does not) affect trans-Saharan migrants’ subjectivities of race and health within the rubric of humanitarian care. This is a multi-sited project, conducted on both sides of the Niger-Algeria border. His research is currently supported by the Fulbright-Hays DDRA award and the UNC Graduate School.

Anusha Hariharan
Moriah James (RDP co-chair, 2020-21)

Moriah James is a 2nd-year doctoral student. Her research interests include African American heritage preservation, oral histories, museums, and the intersections of race and class. Moriah’s initial research consisted of an oral history project completed with residents from a previously all-Black community in Arlington, Virginia. Her future research will seek to explore the Black upper class and Black elite class identity formation in the United States.

Maja Jeranko

I am a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology from Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I employ engaged ethnographic methods to explore how different types of successive disasters (e.g. earthquake, floods, and COVID-19) and subsequent initiatives (e.g. housing and workshop provision for women) impact long-term recovery processes, particularly in terms gender relations within households and communities in a small fishing village on the coast of Ecuador. I am also interested in design and methods of research in Latin American Studies, and how we can apply those to carry out collaborative and context-sensitive research, learn from different socio-cultural worlds, and forge transnational bonds of solidarity.

Ana Ramirez

I am a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology. I identify as U.S.-born Maya-Akateka from Guatemala. Broadly, my interests are in Maya cultural and linguistical revitalization, community-based research, transnationalism, youth migration, youth identity, and intergenerational leadership. My research interests stem from more than ten years of experience working in different capacities with non-profits, community organizations and schools that work with Maya communities in the United States and in the western highlands of Guatemala. My current research focuses on Maya communities in the United States, specifically in North Carolina. My work is supported by the Royster Fellowship, the UNC Graduate Certificate for Participatory Research (GCPR), the Initiative for Minority Excellence (IME), and the Ford Predoctoral Fellowship.

Francesca Sorbara (RDP co-chair, 2020-21)

I am a sociocultural anthropologist from Italy, and I have lived and worked as a Human Rights advocate in South America for a decade. My current research in Colombia investigates how Amazonian communities in indigenous and peasant territories are affected, and how they respond to state interventions implemented in the name of the Rights of Nature. Are the Rights of Nature effectively slowing down deforestation, and protecting local communities?

My ethnographic research aspires to contribute to debates over Amazonian forest conservation by adding critical analysis and unheard voices that may inform future policy.

Lucía Stavig

I am a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural and Medical Anthropology working with Runa (Quechua) women in the Department of Cusco, Peru. I am interested in issues of indigeneity, gender, theories of body and health. My current project focuses on the healing house, Mosoq Pakari Sumaq Kawsay (MPSK), where forcibly sterilized Runa (Quechua) women have come to heal from illnesses related to their forced sterilization using ancestral medicines and ceremony.  Runa women are the backbone of Runa culture, and by healing themselves they help heal their communities, powering Indigenous futures through radical resurgence (L. Simpson 2017).

Julio Villa-Palomino

I am sociocultural/medical anthropologist. My interests are situated at the intersections of mental health, gender and race. My current research focuses on psychiatry, the state, and the current community mental health reform in Peru. I study how the community mental health model can be conceptualized as an extension of the state and psychiatric power. At the same time, I want to explore how this reform generates and mobilizes new anxieties and forms of compliance within the population.