Research Minute – Professor Rachel Silver on Anthropologies of Gender, Sexuality, and Policy
My research connects insights from the field of comparative and international education and the anthropologies of gender, sexuality, and policy. Specifically, I explore how discourses, policies, and programs related to gender and sexuality intersect with youth lives in contexts where young people face significant challenges to their wellbeing. This can be as a result of forced migration, long-term poverty, or the harmful effects of climate change on livelihoods.
Across the world, diverse actors and institutions use schooling to shape young women’s sexual practices and gendered behavior. They do so for a range of reasons—in the name of public health, national development, human rights, or religion. These interventions are often deeply contested. In my work, I draw on extended ethnographic engagement to show how debates over girls’ sexuality reflect larger struggles for moral and political authority, and what the social and material consequences of these contestations are for young people.