Jessaca Leinaweaver

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Background

Jessaca Leinaweaver joined Brown University and the PSTC in the fall of 2008. She conducts research on kinship, the life course, and migration in Andean Peru. Her work on kinship focuses on adoption, child circulation, and family strategies among urban migrants in the cities of Ayacucho and Lima. Her studies of the life course include a study of aging among the parents of transnational migrants in Ayacucho, and a collaborative investigation on child agency and systems of caregiving in Yauyos undertaken with Dr. Jeanine Anderson (Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru) and a team of anthropology students from Peru and Canada. A project exploring the contrasts between international adoption and migration of Peruvians to Spain is in the preliminary stages. Leinaweaver's field research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Science Foundation, Fulbright IIE, the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Universities of Michigan and Manitoba.

Leinaweaver's research explores the broad question of how, and why, people care for one another. This brings her research under the heading of "kinship studies," where anthropologists have traditionally considered people's understandings of their social roles and responsibilities to one another within families, households, and communities. Her first long-term research project focused on the circulation of children, or the many ways that young people are moved between households and families, in southern Peru. From informal adoptions to the recruitment of household labor, the relocations of children are understood differently by parties ranging from the Peruvian state to anti-child-trafficking NGOs to the children in question. Her new book, The Circulation of Children: Kinship, Adoption, and Morality in Andean Peru (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008), compares these child circulations to domestic and international adoptions in Peru.

More recently, Leinaweaver is developing three projects which build on similar questions. In 2007, she conducted research on aging among the parents of transnational migrants in Ayacucho, and in 2008 she began a collaborative investigation on child agency and systems of caregiving in Yauyos with Dr. Jeanine Anderson and a team of anthropology students from Peru and Canada (funded by an International Collaborative Research Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and additional support from the Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social). A project exploring the contrasts between international adoption and migration of Peruvians to Spain is in the preliminary stages.

Interests

Childhood in Latin America, Gender, Households, Kinship, Social organization