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Department of Anthropology

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell Univeristy Department of Anthropology

Faculty Detail


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Hodžić, Saida

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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Websites

Department Appointments

  • Anthropology (ANTHR)

Graduate Fields

  • Anthropology
  • Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies

Keywords

>Research and Teaching Interests

Critical medical anthropology (health activism and biopolitics, violence, humanitarianism, science and medical knowledge, global health governance)

Transnational gender and sexuality studies (women’s movements, activism, feminist theory)

Legal and political anthropology (NGOs, human rights, development, law and politics beyond the state, sovereignty, migration, and citizenship)

Intersections of postcolonial theory with ethnographic and feminist critiques of liberalism and neoliberalism.

I focus on global connections and mutual entanglements of Africa, especially Ghana, with Europe and the United States.

Overview

I am a sociocultural and medical anthropologist with research and teaching interests that span several fields. My research addresses the relationship between activism and governmentality in contemporary movements that take gender and violence as sites of intervention, focusing on mutual entailments of Ghanaian NGOs, global political economy, and humanitarian politics of knowledge and regimes of power. I am particularly interested in productive aspects of political formations whose effects are not simply salutary, the contingencies of governmental regimes, and the unintended consequences of NGOs’ tenuous successes.  Regionally, I focus on global connections and mutual entanglements of Africa, especially Ghana, with Europe and the United States.

Research

My published work offers an ethnographic challenge to anthropological and feminist critiques of NGO governance by providing new orientations to the question “what happens when liberalism and rights advocacy travel South?” Building on ethnography of Ghanaian NGOs and their continental and global connections, my work reframes this question by challenging the notion of the West/global North as a self-contained originating force.

My forthcoming book, Of Rebels, Spirits, and Social Engineers: The Awkward Endings of Female Genital Cutting examines the logics and effects of surprisingly successful Ghanaian NGO interventions against cutting. This ethnography analyzes the shifting place of African activists and NGOs in international campaigns against cutting, the practices of making and using medical and cultural knowledge as techniques of intervention, NGO’s involvement in law-making and enforcement, and rural women’s reconfigurations of affect and meaning of cutting. Contrary to modernist assumption about knowledge and social engineering, these NGO interventions were successful because of their contingent and performative character as well as the NGOs’ misreadings of cultural forms and practices. I show that the larger effects of NGO governmentality include the reconfigurations of meaning, sovereignty, and global governance, and the emergence of popular critiques of precarity and legal violence.

My next project, Affective Encounters, will examine the productive work of affect in forging of global connections, and its circulation and commodification in the name of humanity. This project builds on long-standing ethnographic research on new forms of exchange, indebtedness, relatedness, and subjectification emerging in the politically and economically uneven terrains of transnational responses to violence and destitution that are mediated by appeals to humanity. This multi-sited project spans the analysis of intimate encounters in development projects in Ghana, reconciliation and commemoration practices in post-war Bosnia, human rights activism at Amnesty International, and immigrants’ and women’s rights activism in Germany.

Courses

A Global Controversy: How to Study a Human Rights Violation

Proseminar in Anthropology

Gender, Liberalism, and Postcolonial Theory

Sex and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Politics Beyond the State: Activism, Advocacy, and NGOs

Selected Publications

On Ghanaian Women’s Rights Advocacy, NGOs, and Gender Violence

Unsettling Power: Domestic Violence, Gender Politics, and Struggles over Sovereignty in Ghana. Ethnos 74(3): 331-360, 2009. Full text: http://www.academia.edu/2470532/Unsettling_Power_Domestic_Violence_Gender_Politics_and_Struggles_over_Sovereignty_in_Ghana

Seduced by Information, Contaminated by Power: Women’s Rights as a Global Panopticon. Confronting Global Gender Justice: Women’s Rights, Human Lives. Debra Bergoffen et al., eds. Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2011. Full text: www.academia.edu/2470548/Seduced_by_Information_Contaminated_by_Power_Womens_Rights_as_a_Global_Panopticon

The Logics of Controversy: Gender Violence as a Site of Frictions in Ghanaian Advocacy. Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. Richard Roberts et al., eds. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010. Full text: http://www.academia.edu/2470588/The_Logics_of_Controversy_Gender_Violence_as_a_Site_of_Frictions_in_Ghanaian_Advocacy

Feminist Bastards: Toward a Post-Humanist Critique of NGOization. Theorizing NGOs: States, Feminisms, and Neoliberalism. Victoria Bernal and Inderpal Grewal, eds. Duke University Press. Forthcoming in 2014.

On Medical Knowledge, Biopolitics, and Global Health Governance

Ascertaining Deadly Harms: Aesthetics and Politics of Global Evidence. Cultural Anthropology. 28(1): 86–109, 2013. Full text: http://www.academia.edu/2519630/Ascertaining_Deadly_Harms_Aesthetics_and_Politics_of_Global_Evidence

Article website with classroom questions, relevant links, and author interview: www.culanth.org/supplementals/232-ascertaining-deadly-harms-aesthetics-and-politics

On Violence

Of War, Culture, and Responsibility. Anthropology News. May 2007. Full text: http://www.academia.edu/2470714/Of_War_Culture_and_Responsibility

Book Review, Global Health in Times of Violence, Paul Farmer et al., Eds. Journal of Global Public Health 6(3): 678-680. Full text: http://www.academia.edu/2470665/Global_Health_in_Times_of_Violence_Book_Review