Faculty-Staff Digest - (04/13/2014  @ 4:01 PM)

AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Orphan Care and the Changing Family in Lesotho (Kelly Fayard)

In Ellen Block's talk, titled AIDS is a Kinship Disease: Orphan Care and the Changing Family in Lesotho, she argues that AIDS is best understood through its definitive connections with kinship practices as its impact reaches beyond the individual who is sick, transforming families and reflecting broader concerns about societal change. Rather than simply maintaining that people respond to the problem of AIDS by drawing on sociality and cultural ideologies, she argues that AIDS is at the center of a crisis in African kinship and that orphan care provides a lens through which to examine the complex webs of belief, social relations, biomedical practices, and structural realities which characterize the crisis. She will illuminate two key areas where this relational view of AIDS is exhibited and where the intersections of AIDS and kinship is revealed. First, she discusses the way in which biomedical knowledge is filtered through a social lens in order to shape Basotho’s understanding of AIDS’ impact on the body. Second, she explores how the presence of AIDS orphans has changed household configurations. She will show how the negotiations for AIDS orphans has served to simultaneously reinforce patrilineal and patriarchal values, while fundamentally shifting caregiving practices to favor matrilocality.

Sponsored by the Departments of Sociology & Anthropology, Gender & Women's Studies, and the Blythe Bickel Edwards Fund