I work as a life course ethnographer teaching anthropology at Santa Clara University (and sometimes Sonoma State University) and spend the rest of my time doing research, sharing care with my family, and growing my community. I trained as a cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropologist at the University of Arizona, and do research in Ecuador, Tucson, and where I live in Oakland, CA. My path to anthropology started with direct service work with Spanish-speaking immigrant youth in the D.C. area and my research interests have remained focused around the biocitizenship of aging and the life course, particularly in the context of Spanish-speaking populations in educational institutions and multigenerational households.

As for my public identities: I use they/them pronouns and prefer to be called “Sam.” I am @ailiathena on Twitter, SamanthaGrace on Academia.edu, slgrace in my profile at the University of Arizona, and Sam Grace on Goodreads.com. This site is both my primary professional presence online as well as my blog, the latter of which I expect it to pass through moments of blossoming interest as well as wintry periods where I prioritize other work.

You may also wonder what I look like. In my first year of grad school, I looked like this:

Sam in their first year of grad school

The completed work I’m most proud of so far includes my Master’s thesis and PhD dissertation. The MA was an ethnography of age, morality, gender, and citizenship with white and Latina pregnant and parenting adolescents in Tucson, AZ. The dissertation, “The Citizen Life Course: Age Identity in Ecuador’s Educational Revolution,” explored epistemologies of aging as a political tool of colonial education through time spent with Ecuadorian 10th graders and their families. That was funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation, which I’m still quite proud of. I continue to use a combination of participant observation (when pandemic allows), interviews (especially the “triple interview” of layered one-on-one interviews, parent-child dyad interviews, and multigenerational group interviews), and focus groups as my main data collection methods.

Before I went to grad school, I worked in DC as a bilingual educator, case worker, and HIV counselor with Latinx immigrant youth and families, and before that I studied Ancient Greek Language and Literature at Oberlin College.

And, because this isn’t the kind of blog where I pretend that my life ends with that day’s grading, I want you to know that I am married to an excellent human being, have cute human children, and also have a ridiculous white and black dog named Odysseus and a presumptuous black and white cat named Nikos. That said, this will not be a pet blog, do not expect cute photos.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Sam – this is a great photo. I only wish that you had the video of the “Geertz Waltz” that went with it!!! 😉

  2. Hi! I just came across your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more! It’s so positive and affirming — so much of academic-life-related blogging (and happy hour conversations, for that matter) is very bleak these days, but you don’t seem to be in that camp. I appreciate that a lot.

  3. Hello Samantha,
    It was a really happy thing to discover your blog.
    Even though I am not into the anthropology directly my field of expertise and learning relates to people intimately (anthropos – anthropy)
    I subscribe to your blog from my French account. If interested into the English version of my thoughts about education and learning:

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