Bianca Dahl

Bianca Dahl

Bianca Dahl, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 2009)
Assistant Professor, Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

(416) 208-2699
Office: MW 380 (Main), AP 242 (St. George)

Research Keywords: Medical and sociocultural anthropology; anthropological demography; HIV & AIDS; children; humanitarianism; human rights; kinship; social stigma; affect/emotion

Research Region: Botswana


Research Bio

My book manuscript explores the unexpected effects of foreign-funded aid institutions attempting to provide culturally sensitive supplemental care for Tswana children who have been orphaned during the HIV epidemic. Moving outside the confines of these aid organizations by following children into everyday spaces of village life, the research reveals how and why donations of material goods – and the emotional economies that accompany them – are forging newly problematic patterns of social relations in rural Botswana. My newer research tackles a public health puzzle surrounding an unexpected upsurge of social stigma against HIV-positive children in Botswana, even as the rates of mother-to-child transmission drop and infected children’s chances of survival dramatically rise (epidemiological factors that are normally associated with decreased stigma).


Forthcoming. Sexy Orphans and Sugar Daddies: The Sexual and Moral Politics of Aid for AIDS in Botswana. Studies in Comparative International Development.

2016. The drama of de-orphaning: Botswana’s old orphans and the rewriting of kinship relationsSocial Dynamics 42(2): 289-303.

2014. Too Fat to Be an Orphan: The Moral Semiotics of Food Aid in Botswana. Cultural Anthropology 29(4): 626-647.

2012   Beyond the Blame Paradigm: Rethinking Witchcraft Gossip and Stigma around HIV-Positive Children in Southeastern Botswana. African Historical Review 44(1):53-79.

2009. The ‘Failures of Culture’: Christianity, Kinship, and Moral Discourses about Orphans during Botswana’s AIDS Crisis. Africa Today 56(1):23-43.

Graduate Students

Nicholas Abrams

Veronica Grigio

Miriam Hird-Younger

Stephanie Mayell

Sarah O’Sullivan