A Thrice Told Tale: The founding of the Zenzele Women’s Association

As an anthropologist I am always in the business of gathering stories. And, as I have noted in an earlier post (The Danger of a Single Story), this often entails gathering multiple perspectives from people in different social positions in order to understand the full scope of an issue. In the mid-1990s I embarked on More …

On cultural humility

As an anthropologist I am always learning from others, looking for new ways to understand other cultures and groups, and new approaches to engage in making social change. Recently, a student drew my attention to the work of Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia on cultural humility vs cultural competence. I find the concept of cultural More …

What methods do ethnographers use to gather qualitative data?

Anthropologists use a holistic approach to understand how social and cultural context shapes what is happening on the ground. As an anthropologist, I am committed to listening to and working with communities, vulnerable and marginalized groups, institutions, and organizations. More …

The danger of a single story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Photo portrait of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I first watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, I was drawn in to her discourse on the way in which Africa and Africans are usually negatively portrayed in the media and imagined by people outside the continent. As a South African living in the United States, I identified with her lament that these negative stories overlook the many other stories that reflect people’s actual lived experiences. More …