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Eugenia Zavaleta Lemus

Graduate Student (Anthropology of childhood; theory of practice and agency; theories of embodiment)

Eugenia Zavaleta enrolled in Anthropology Ph.D. program in 2017. Her research is focused on the structural vulnerabilities of children and youth on the move, including child migrations, internal displacement, and deportations. 

Her research is focused on the intersection between the cross-cultural constructions of childhood, adolescence, violence, and migration in the North Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). Her research aims to understand how El Salvador’s war produced new ways of experiencing childhood in the new century, in which accompanied and unaccompanied child migrants negotiate a transnational past, present, and future through pursuing a risky journey toward the United States. Although the migrant children may be victims of the legacy of a century of violence, they are decidedly not without agency and are mobilizing across countries and cultures. Eugenia's research will produce an urgently needed anthropological contribution to clarify the complexity of Central American constructions of childhood and adolescence, migration, age, care, and kinship.

Eugenia collaborated on different anthropological projects in El Salvador. Her research experience involves medical anthropology, anthropology of childhood and youth, and historical memory of the civil war in El Salvador. In the project "National Evaluation of Childcare Quality in El Salvador", conducted by Whole Child International, Dr. Tomas Matza (Duke University), and a team of anthropologists (including Eugenia), she worked in the assessment of healthcare and educative disparities of early childhood across El Salvador. For her thesis research, she developed a multi-sited ethnography for the evaluation of the public policy for the protection of children's rights in El Salvador: Nuevos agentes, viejas necesidades y el lenguaje de los derechos: Condiciones de posibilidad de la LEPINA en El Salvador (San Ramon, Mejicanos, 2013-2014) ("New agents, old necessities and the language of rights: Conditions of the possibility of the LEPINA in El Salvador [San Ramon, Mejicanos 2013-2014]"). She has been interested in the making of historical memory after the armed conflict in El Salvador through the project Memorias de la guerra civil salvadoreña: una mirada desde la militancia de la Resistencia Nacional a través de fuentes orales y documentales (1975-1994). ("Remembrances of the Salvadorian civil war: a glimpse from the National Resistance militancy through oral and documentary sources. 1975-1994.")


Anthropology of childhood; theory of practice and agency; theories of embodiment; phenomenology; moral anthropology; anthropology of the experience; anthropology in contexts of violence; feminism