Auerbach, Jess


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Grad Status: 
In the Field

Jess completed her undergraduate and Honours degrees in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and a Masters in Forced Migration at Oxford. At Stanford, she is examining contemporary connections between Angola and Brazil, and migration between the two countries in both directions. During the war in Angola that raged from 1961-2002, the top and bottom social rungs of society were clear, but the ‘in between’ was almost non-existent. This was due to the near-complete obliteration of non-military civic structures, lack of educational opportunities and economic isolation – particularly outside of the capital city, Luanda. Post-conflict, of significance is the gradual emergence of a middle class hungry for consumption, interested in new forms of work and increasingly aware of and connected to international networks.. Preliminary research has shown that this middle-class emergence is taking place through large-scale temporary migration to Brazil, following routes established over 500 years of Portuguese colonialism in both countries. Through an 18-month ethnographic study conducted in Benguela, Angola's second city, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jess seeks to understand the ways in which an emergent Angolan middle class is being formed in a trans-Atlantic South-South circuit. 18 months of research will be undertaken beginning September 2013 and continuing to March 2015. One year of research will be in Angola and the remainder in Brazil.