2006 Spicer Winner
Susan Harness, a American Indian transethnic adoptee, will discuss the cultural environments American Indian transethnic adoptees face, both when they are raised, and when they attempt to “return home”. Each cultural environment, or system, is defined by specific boundaries, constructed of social memories. These systems of thought make it difficult for the adoptee to “fit in”, phenotypically within the Euro-American system, and culturally in the American Indian system. Her analysis illustrates this difficulty and how adoptees have attempted to negotiate a sense of belonging.
Garrett Alexandrea (Andrea) McDowell
2006 Spicer Winner
My mantra is perhaps best described by Lewis W. Hine: “show the things that have to be appreciated.” It was while attending Rhodes College and conducting a service-learning life history project in one of my anthropology courses that I discovered how my love of taking pictures can contribute to anthropological research. Ever since then, my goal has been clear: to learn about those who are different from myself, whether they are on my street corner or across the world, and to share my understanding with others. I began working towards this goal by developing photographic skills and earning a master’s degree in visual communication from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Temple University. As a visual anthropologist, I use my camera equally with other research tools.
For my dissertation research, I am measuring the effects of transnationalism on the identity formation of Japanese immigrants in Latin America through a study of intermarriage. Recent developments have led to massive return-migration of Nikkei (people of Japanese descent) in Latin America back to Japan. The effects of this mass exodus on sending communities are enormous yet neglected. Using marriage as a lens through which to analyze identity formation, I am comparatively examining the context and impacts of out-migration on the cases of Nikkei in Chiapas, Mexico and Lima, Peru, with particular attention to how marriage and identity are formed, reformed and transformed as these communities (and marriage options) are depleted. In the paper I will be presenting at the SfAA meetings in Vancouver, I examine the complex construction of self and home that are important elements in understanding contemporary East Asian migration. Attendance at the SfAA annual meeting will allow me to share my concerns over culture contact, ethnic identity and the persistence of difference, and to learn from others’ perspectives.