Seth Palmer Awarded Wenner Gren

Photo of Seth Palmer

Seth Palmer

Congratulations to Seth Palmer for receiving a Wenner Gren award! Seth is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology and the Collaborative Programs in Sexual Diversity Studies and Women and Gender Studies. His doctoral research focuses on non-conforming gendered/sexualized identarian categories in southwestern Madagascar (sarimbavysarindahydognat, travesti) of both male and female-bodied persons whose sexual desires and/or gender identities defy the social mandates of their sexed bodies.  It inquires into informants’ ontological conceptions of gendered and sexualized alterity, or the constructionist/essentialist dichotomy as it is formulated in queer theory, and the ways that these various ontologies are negotiated and materialized through spirit possession and transactional sex.  This multi-sited project moves between rural villages and a regional city, seeking to understand how discourses, spirits, subjectivities, sexological taxonomies, and queer conceptions of being flow between seemingly disparate spaces. More broadly, Seth is interested in the southwestern Indian Ocean region, Madagascar, Reunion Island, Francophone colonial and postcolonial studies, feminist/queer ethnography, sexual economies, and the relationship between spirit possession, genders, and sexualities. The provisional title of Seth’s thesis project is “In the Image of a Woman/Man: Queering Human and Spirit Subjects along the Betsiboka River.”