Cultural Anthropology Graduate Student Receives Research Grant

By Loree Iverson, Student Intern CHASS College Computing
May 6, 2010 

UCR cultural anthropology graduate student, Alicia Bolton, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright-IIE Dissertation Research Abroad award for 2010.

Ms. Bolton will be traveling to Sao Paulo, Brazil where she will conduct her research on a project by the title of “Brazil’s Invisible Children: Writing Children Back into Their Own Stories and Their Own Lives”, a candid observation into the lives of street children and child prostitutes. “Their subjectivities will be contextualized within an examination of a political economy of the street and conditions of poverty, violence, prostitution, marginalization and invisibility that shape the lives and worlds of these children,” Bolton explains.  The nature of the project is to derive a better understanding of the conditions of child street life and prostitution in an attempt to discern the seemingly “invisible” status of these children in their society and the degree to which violence shapes their day to day lives.

In the words of Ms. Bolton: “This project is principally concerned with how street children and child prostitutes in Sao Paulo, Brazil understand and describe their harsh and often life threatening living and working conditions.  I hope to understand who these children are and how they got to the street and became involved in prostitution. What are the social and economic forces that shape their lives and influence their decisions? How do these children describe the violence, marginalization, and invisibility that they experience as a part of their everyday lives? What strategies do they use for day-to-day survival? How is it that they organize their worlds and conceptualize their lives given their constraints? How do these children themselves interpret the behavioral choices they make? While much of the literature refers to these children as ‘abandoned’, whether by the state or the family, I argue that amid adversity and all odds, they are making and creating their lives and experiences on their own terms. I want to get at these terms.” 

The Fulbright Program is one of the most highly-esteemed international awards programs worldwide, operating in over 155 countries. The program is administered by the Institute of International Education. As an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. Among the mission statements of the IIE is the promotion of intimate educational relations between international scholars and the building of leadership skills so as to enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to engage with local and global changes more effectively.

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