Colloquium: Robin G. Nelson

Date(s) - 25/01/2019
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

AP 246


Colloquium Series:

Robin G. Nelson, PhD (Santa Clara University)

Title: Living Relations: Familial Investment, Care Communities, & Health in the Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora

Abstract: Historically, studies of human childhood emphasize the importance of material resources provided via locally bounded groups. The relationships between children and their caretakers are vitally important and influence psychological development, physical growth, and health across the lifespan. In many communities, familial networks are fluid, reflecting culturally specific responses to interpersonal dynamics and local economic pressures. My research in a working-class Caribbean city examines the link between colonialism, global labor economies, gendered parental practices, and early life for Jamaican children. In this talk, I explore the intersection of the core concepts in evolutionary studies of the family, including parental investment, extended kin care, and gender socialization, and regionally specific resource pressures and international adult labor migration patterns. Specifically, I will discuss my mixed method study on what happens in the lives of children whose familial networks are unable to provide care.  I am interested in how these children experience diminished familial networks and limited social and financial capital, as well as the impact of early occurrences of scarcity and deprivation on growth profiles. My current research builds on this study and investigates gendered migration and Caribbean identities surrounding parenthood. This work combines conventional studies in the human biology of growth and reproduction with ethnographic understandings of community, transnational labor practices, and gender.



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