Diversity Center Alums: Complexities of Care and Service Abroad
By Kenzie Gandy '20
Marketing & Communication
Angie Hambrick, PLU's Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Justice and Sustainability, sits down with anthropology professor and PLU Peace Corps Prep Program Coordinator Katherine Wiley, Hispanic studies professor Giovanna Urdangarain, and anthropology and global studies professor Dr. Ami Shah to discuss service abroad.
This rich conversation covers a wide range of topics rooted in the importance of exercising care when serving abroad, especially considering many people are without the privilege to serve or travel abroad. Wiley, Urdangarain and Shah explore how service impacts indigenous communities, the need to exercise care in the context of service, and the ways in which the White Savior Complex manifests itself through service.
Katherine Wiley traveled to semi-rural Mauritania, first as a Peace Corp volunteer and then again to conduct research analyzing how ex-slaves and slave descendants are understanding their identities and reworking social hierarchy in a country that only legally abolished slavery in 1981. Having two different experiences in Mauritania to draw from, Wiley reflects on her deepened awareness of her positionality, identity, and capacity for learning.
Dr. Ami Shah’s research in Nigeria and India consists of examining the effects of neoliberal urban development policies on livelihoods, identities and state-society relations for the urban poor. As a South Asian woman researching in India, she speaks to her experience of “double strangerhood” or the feeling of being from a place, but not necessarily of that place. She shares how her experiences interacted with her navigation of her own identity both personally and globally.
Giovanna Urdangarain’s research looks at the ways in which countries in the Southern Cone of Latin America experience dictatorships, and the narratives of women that arise out of those circumstances. She speaks to her experience of returning to her home country of Uruguay first to teach through the Peace Corps, then later to conduct her research after migrating to the U.S. at almost 30 years old.
This discussion explores the complexities of care and service abroad through the lens of three amazing PLU professors, each providing a unique perspective and experience. If you are interested in service abroad, have served abroad, or are interested in learning about ways you can be a more conscious global citizen, give this podcast a listen.